This week at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford is showcasing its latest innovations — aimed not only at advancing its vehicles, but at helping to change the way the world moves.
With the Ford Smart Mobility plan, the automaker is focusing on leading-edge work in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. Ford also announced 25 mobility experiments it’s conducting around the world this year, testing breakthrough transportation ideas to create better customer experiences, more flexible user-ship models and social collaboration that can reward customers.
Also at CES, Ford is demonstrating SYNC® 3, its most advanced vehicle connectivity system, highlighting semi-autonomous vehicles the company has on the road today and fully autonomous vehicles now in development, and introducing two new research projects within the My Energi Lifestyle program.
“Even as we showcase connected cars and share our plans for autonomous vehicles, we are here at CES with a higher purpose,” said Ford president and CEO Mark Fields. “We are driving innovation in every part of our business to be both a product and mobility company — and, ultimately, to change the way the world moves just as our founder Henry Ford did 111 years ago.”
Global mobility experiments
The first steps for Ford Smart Mobility are 25 experiments — eight in North America, nine in Europe and Africa, seven in Asia and one in South America. Each experiment is designed to anticipate what customers will want and need in tomorrow’s transportation ecosystem.
“We see a world where vehicles talk to one another, drivers and vehicles communicate with the city infrastructure to relieve congestion, and people routinely share vehicles or multiple forms of transportation for their daily commute,” Fields said. “The experiments we’re undertaking today will lead to an all-new model of transportation and mobility within the next 10 years and beyond.”
The 25 experiments address four global megatrends challenging today’s transportation model and limiting personal mobility, especially in urban areas: explosive population growth, an expanding middle class, air quality and public health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities.
14 of the 25 experiments are Ford-led research projects, and 11 are part of the company’s Innovate Mobility Challenge Series. The experiments include:
- Big Data Drive: Dearborn, Michigan
- Fleet Insights: United States
- Data Driven Insurance: London
- Remote Repositioning: Atlanta
- City Driving On-Demand: London
- Dynamic Social Shuttle: New York, London
- Car Swap: Dearborn, Michigan
- Ford Carsharing: Germany
- Share-Car: Bangalore, India
- Rapid Recharge & Share: Dearborn, Michigan
- Data-Driven Healthcare: The Gambia, West Africa
- Parking Spotter: Atlanta
- Info Cycle: Palo Alto, California
- Painless Parking: London
With the Innovate Mobility Challenge Series, Ford invited developers around the world to create solutions for specific mobility challenges in North America and South America, Portugal, Africa, India, China, England and Australia.
Challenges included finding technology solutions to identify open parking spaces in urban areas, better ways to navigate crowded cities, and the use of navigation and other tools to help people gain access to medical care in remote areas.
This week at CES, Ford is also highlighting SYNC 3, the company’s new communications and entertainment system that is faster, more intuitive and easier to use, with enhanced response to driver commands.
SYNC 3’s more conversational speech recognition technology, a more smartphone-like touch screen and easy-to-read graphics will help millions of drivers connect with their lives and control their smartphone while on the road.
The next-generation system builds on the capability of SYNC technology already in more than 10 million vehicles on the road globally. SYNC 3 begins arriving in new vehicles this year.
“Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay connected,” said Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group VP of Global Product Development. “SYNC 3 is another step forward in delivering connectivity features customers most want, and they tell us this kind of technology is an important part of their decision to buy our vehicles.”
Ford is also showcasing the semi-autonomous vehicles it has on the road today and fully autonomous vehicles now in development.
“We’re already manufacturing and selling semi-autonomous vehicles that use software and sensors to steer into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, adjust speed based on traffic flow or apply the brakes in an emergency,” Nair said. “There will be a Ford autonomous vehicle in the future, and we take putting one on the road very seriously.”
Ford’s semi-autonomous vehicle features available today include lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and active park assist — with Traffic Jam Assist coming.
A fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle is undergoing road testing. The vehicle uses the same semi-autonomous technology in Ford vehicles today, while adding four LiDAR sensors to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment.
The vehicle can sense objects around it using the LiDAR sensors, and uses advanced algorithms to help it learn to predict where vehicles and pedestrians might move.
“Henry Ford taught us long ago that a good business makes excellent products and earns a healthy return,” Fields said. “A great business does all that while creating a better world. That is what continues to drive us each day.”
The latest from My Energi Lifestyle
As if that weren’t enough, the very busy automaker is also showcasing two new research projects within the MyEnergi Lifestyle program — a collaboration with Whirlpool, SunPower, Eaton and Nest aimed at helping homeowners achieve an energy-efficient lifestyle by integrating smart appliances, a plug-in vehicle and clean energy:
- Ford and Nest are now collaborating on an app that helps users manage energy costs and usage. The app will switch to "Away Mode" when a user leaves the home, and will set the house temperature when the vehicle is approaching home again.
- Ford is also developing a “green energy” app, which will track when renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are most active on the grid, to help users schedule charging during these periods.