Car Tech: Ford Looks to the future Part 2..It’s all about apps.
In the first report on my visit to Ford’s research facility in Dearborn, MI I talked about the importance Ford places on safety and looked at advanced safety features in the works. Today we will look at a less obvious aspect of safety.
Research shows that we use our smartphone apps in the car, often to the point of distraction. So taking advantage of the connectivity abilities of Ford SYNC the company is designing interfaces to integrate those apps into the SYNC interface and thus reduce the distraction factor.
SYNC Applink the software that allows that kind of integration will be available on 10 models of Ford’s 2012 vehicles in the US..no date for a Canadian release has been announced. Curently Applink works with with Pandora and Stitcher for iPhone and Android and OpenBeak for Blackberry but, 2500 developers are working on future apps. One area getting a lot of attention is Health and Wellness monitoring
Even more interactive is a system to help diabetes patients monitor their glucose levels.
Both those apps are prototypes and may turn up in Ford cars down the road. But a seat that monitors a driver’s heart rate is still in the basic research stage in Ford’s Aachen, Germany research labs. Researchers are still trying to determine what data can be reliably captured. This research may result in new safety features five or ten years from now.
So it has become clear that Ford’s President for The Americas Mark Fields is bang on when he claims Ford have become as much a technology company as a car company.