Posts Tagged ‘technology


Ford Experiments With In-Car Sensors To Predict Driver Behavior, Cut Stress

DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford predicts that in-car sensors will be the next big thing in vehicles.

Biometric sensors will measure the stress level of the driver and help to personalize driver-assist technologies, the automaker said.

The 2013 Ford Fusion previews the future, with 74 sensors that “can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver’s seat,” Ford said.

“Fusion features an unprecedented level of sensors for its driver-assist technologies,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer, in a statement.

Ford said it is researching the use of real-time sensor data — both radar and camera-based — that can help to evaluate external factors affecting driver attention, such as traffic congestion. The real-time sensor data can cut potential distractions, such as an incoming phone call.

Ford researchers are also looking at ways to predict driver behavior to “help optimize and configure vehicle controls for improved performance such as better energy management,” the automaker said.

The automaker is also experimenting with “advanced machine learning.” This technology is previewed in EV+, a feature found in the 2013 Ford Fusion and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids. It “learns” typical locations of charging and then “automatically maximizes electric-only driving mode when nearing those locations,” the automaker noted.


Ford Moves in on Silicon Valley

Ford Motor Company is the latest automaker to open a research lab in Silicon Valley, where it hopes to scout out new technology and keep ahead of trends.

The company said Friday that it plans to open the lab near Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., in the first few months of this year. It will employ around 15 people, including some recruited locally and others who will rotate in from Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn.

Ford’s Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas said the company decided about a year ago that it needed a bigger presence in Silicon Valley.

“This is a very natural extension into one of the most innovative communities in the world,” he said.

He said the lab will work on ways to better integrate phones and other personal devices into cars, as well as safety systems that alert drivers when they’re approaching another car.

The lab will also solicit and test applications from independent programmers. One app Ford is currently studying can find an open parking space and reserve it. Another would improve weather reporting by transmitting signals when a car’s rain-sensing wipers are triggered.

Mascarenas said the lab will also study larger issues, including population growth in developing countries like China and India, and how best to handle traffic in those countries.

The lab will work with Ford headquarters as well as its design studio in Southern California and its office at Microsoft Corp. in Washington. Microsoft and Ford jointly developed Ford’s Sync voice-activated entertainment system and My Ford Touch touch-screen dashboard.

But Mascarenas said it’s important that the lab be in Silicon Valley — not Dearborn — so employees feel free to experiment.

Ford joins several other automakers that have similar offices in Silicon Valley, including General Motors Co., BMW AG and the Renault-Nissan alliance.

K. Venkatesh Prasad, a senior technical leader at Ford who will commute between Dearborn and the new office, said Ford considered opening a Silicon Valley office in the past but the technology wasn’t ready. Now, he said, the Sync platform makes it easier and faster to reprogram the car and update it with new applications. Ford introduced Sync four years ago.

“The car is finally a platform,” Prasad said.


Ford Drives Into The Cloud

source: Jason Meyers, Cloud IT Pro

Auto manufacturerFord Motor Companyplans to use its CEO’s keynote presence on the Consumer Electronics Show stage in January to demonstrate not only its automotive ingenuity, but also how much it is addressing the always-connected lifestyle of its customers in the design of its vehicles. At the center of all of it? The cloud.

The company’s Ford Evos Concept car will make its first appearance in North America at the 2012 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 10-13, 2012. Ford previewed the vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Among other features, the car promises toenhance the experience of driving through the application of cloud computing—exchanging data between vehicle, office and home—to address functions like driver personalization and adaptability.

According to Ford, the cloud-based technology in the car will address applications including adaptive vehicle dynamics, driver health and well-being and smart electrification. Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally will participate in the CES Innovation Power Panel on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 at 9 a.m.

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Bill Ford’s Better Idea: The Car In The Cloud

For all the high-tech gadgets and gizmos available on the latest automobiles –from collision avoidance systems to rearview video cams – our cars are essentially mobile versions of a 1981 IBM PC or an Apple II – dumb terminals disconnected from the grid with drivers, as The Police sang in the ‘80s, “packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes.”

But maybe not for too much longer. Get ready for the car in the cloud, Internet-connected vehicles that know when you’re sleeping, know when you’re awake and are plugged into social networks, traffic systems and even your home thermostat.

That’s the vision promoted by Ford Motor’s Evos concept car, a sleek, gull-winged plug-in electric hybrid that is as much a rolling iPhone 4s as a form of transportation.

“Even before you wake up in the morning, your car interacts with the cloud to help ensure you’ll have a great day,” intones the narrator of an Evos promotional video, sounding like a British-accented version of Apple’s Siri.“The car pulls traffic and weather information as well as information about your work schedule to determine what time you should wake up. Your car communicates through the cloud to your alarm clock.”

The car knows you were listening to, say NPR or Arcade Fire, with your morning coffee and continues the programming as you hop into the Evos sitting on a wireless charging pad in the garage. “As you pull away, the vehicle sends a message to the cloud indicating its time to switch the house to energy efficiency mode and close the garage door,” the narrator continues, noting the car constantly scans the cloud for social media updates from friends. On the way to work the car communicates with other cars and traffic control systems to reduce gridlock and plot the fastest and most efficient route as it searches for and reserves a wireless charging parking spot near your office. (See Evos video below.)

Continue reading ‘Bill Ford’s Better Idea: The Car In The Cloud’


Ford Evos: Cloud Connected Car

Ford has announced the Ford Evos, a Hybrid sedan concept car that is constantly connected to the cloud. While it is only a concept at the moment, it is -mostly- based on ideas and technologies that can be achievable in the near-future. For instance, having a constant connection between the car and the Internet is merely a cost issue, not a technological one.

In Ford’s vision, the Evos knows everything about your personal preferences from the data that you have accumulated overtime (in the cloud). And by preferences, Ford means “everything” that can be gathered by modern technology: music style, sleep time, driving habits, temperature levels, movies, radio shows, friends… there are no real limits.At home

For example, the car can check your calendar and see that a meeting has been delayed, so it decides to tell your alarm clock that there’s no need to wake you up for now. The car can also guess that you will soon be on the road, and starts adapting the internal temperature. Upon leaving the proximity of the house, it tells the house’s heating system to enter power savings mode.

On the road

Obviously, the car knows where you are going and can check traffic to recommend alternate routes, if needed. Ford also suggests that it could ask the driver to go on a fun drive if there is time. To do so, the car check for what’s ahead, and if no danger is detected (traffic, accidents, weather conditions…), the driver can switch into a more sporty (versus economic) driving mode.

The car will monitor the driver’s vital stats via sensors in the seat, and can turn off the phone and remove other distracting element of the dashboard to help the driver focus on what’s important. In its concept, Ford also shows that the Evos can play a particular style of music that the driver enjoys on this road.

Driver’s health

As the car gets closer to the city, it detects for pollutants and activates a filtering system, while prompting the driver.  Finally, it searches and reserves a parking spot over the internet, and guides the driver inside the parking. The car will charge wirelessly during the day, and will be ready for the return trip.


This is a really cool concept, and as I said in the introduction, most of the technologies are already available. However, there are a number of things that Ford will need to work out. For instance anything that is linked to the public (or private) infrastructure has to be done by a third party. Wireless charging mechanisms need to become standard for all cars and all the information gathering/reading also has to be somewhat standardized.

In the end, we hope that the Ford Evos idea will inspire a new level of cooperation and standardization, because without real team work and real standards, no project that requires public infrastructure can work. In the meantime, what do you think of this vision, and what would you like Ford to build?


Ford Prepares Global Launch of Electric Cars, Leads on Intelligent Vehicles News

Chairman Bill Ford wrote in Fortune magazine this week that the company will start rolling out its EVs this year, beginning with an electric Ford Focus. It will be followed by a plug-in hybrid and an electric version of its new, sporty five-seater C-MAX.

He says that 25% of Ford’s global fleet will be electric by 2020.

“Some of the most fundamental and enduring elements of the automobile are being radically transformed,” says.

While he is referring primarily to replacing internal combustion engines with batteries and electric drive trains, Ford is also exploring other technological leaps that could improve the safety and efficiency of driving.

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Ford Wants Your Next Car to Monitor Your Vital Signs as You Drive

Using in-car monitoring apps to keep an eye on things like blood sugar

DETROIT — Within the next couple years, your car will notice if you have low blood sugar and tell you to have a snack; check local pollen counts and roll up your windows to prevent an allergy attack; and at lunch time, give you directions to the nearest healthy-eating establishment, pausing your iPod to broadcast the restaurant’s menu.

Using a suite of new apps Ford announced Wednesday, personalized medicine could soon be as simple as revving your engines. Now we just need someone to record some lines as KITT.

Ford is working with three medical technology firms to build web-connected apps for its Sync onboard communications interface. The programs are still in the research stages and won’t make it to market for at least a year or two. In the meantime, the automaker wants to highlight its increasing focus on consumers’ health, according to Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technology officer.

“People are spending so much time behind the wheel, and that’s expected to increase as we go forward, with increased traffic density and congestion,” he said. “(This is) about seeing the car as more than just a car. It’s now a platform that we can use for development, innovation, and connectivity.”

Continue reading ‘Ford Wants Your Next Car to Monitor Your Vital Signs as You Drive’

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