What do you get when you cross a car with a computer? You end up with something like the Ford Evos that can do almost everything for you, except perhaps your laundry. Oh, wait, it can do that too by talking to your washing machine! Welcome to the future of motoring.
CarToq attended a webinar organized by Ford from Computex 2012 in Taipei. Some of the concepts that Edward Pleet, connected services director, Ford, and Dr. Pim van der Jagt, MD, Ford Research Center, Europe revealed were truly engaging.
The first, of course, was the car itself. The Evos concept. This car is your butler, driver, handyman and personal trainer all rolled into one! And that has been made possible by software developed by Microsoft and Ford together called the Sync-Applink.
Sync completely automates car
Using Sync-Applink the car is empowered with a form of artificial intelligence that can virtually take care of most everyday tasks.
Picture this: When you wake up in the morning, your car is already checking the weather. At the time you finish breakfast, it’s already warmed itself up and has set its air-conditioning to a temperature of your choice. All this is possible, as your phone or other connected devices in the house all start sending data to a “cloud” on the Internet, from which your car extracts relevant information using Sync.
Once you get into the car, it will pick a route for you that is less congested. Suppose the route has bad road conditions, it can automatically firm up the suspension and change the driving dynamics to suit the road.
The car is fitted with sensors in the steering and seat that can monitor your mood. If it senses that your blood pressure is elevated or you are stressed out, it will alter the driving dynamics accordingly and even knock off all the unimportant gauges from the dashboard, showing only the critical ones. It won’t allow you to take phone calls or messages in such situations.
Then suppose you land up in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The car can then take over the driving from you using radar and sensors to automatically follow the traffic, braking and accelerating automatically. At this time, it will allow you to make phone calls, read emails or do other connected tasks. It will also allow you to tune into the Internet and comes with apps for Pandora, iheartradio, tune-in etc.
Doesn’t this all sound a bit far-fetched?
“Not really,” says Pleet, “Most of this technology already exists and is in various stages of development.” And he also added a bit of interesting news for those of you waiting for the Ford EcoSport.
Ford EcoSport to feature Sync
A more basic version of Sync will be available in the Ford EcoSport that will be sold in India in January 2013. So do expect the EcoSport to feature voice-commands (like the Fiesta) and also app connectivity to your iPhone, Blackberry or Android, allowing you to perform a host of car functions.
One thing that will definitely be on offer in the EcoSport is seamless connectivity on your phone. If you walk into the car while on a call, the EcoSport will seamlessly transfer your call from the headset to the car or vice versa.
Pleet says that in the next five years more of the concepts showcased would find their way into regular road-going cars. And this would also add to safety. In an accident, for instance, the car can automatically call an emergency number – now that’s a really useful feature.
Oh, and future Fords can call your washing machine to have your laundry done by the time you get home!