A Share-Car experiment in the Indian city of Bengaluru in
the southern state of Karnataka is among the 25 mobility experiments around the
world that is being undertaken by Ford Motor Company as part of the company’s
Ford Smart Mobility plan that was announced at the International Consumer
Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The show is being held from January 6 to 9,
The Ford Smart Mobility plan will use innovation to take the
company to next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the
customer experience and big data. The plan was announced by Mark Fields,
President and CEO of Ford Motor Company in his address at the CES. He stated
that the company is highlighting how it is using innovation not only to create
advanced new vehicles but also to help change the way the world moves by
solving today’s growing global transportation challenges.
“Even as we showcase
connected cars and share our plans for autonomous vehicles, we are here at CES
with a higher purpose,” said Fields, adding that “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.”
Also at CES, Ford is demonstrating SYNC 3, its most advanced
vehicle connectivity system, while highlighting semi-autonomous vehicles the
company has on the road today and fully autonomous vehicles now in development.
25 global mobility
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,” he said.
The 25 experiments address four global megatrends –
explosive population growth, an expanding middle class, air quality and public
health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities – challenging
today’s transportation model and limiting personal mobility, especially in
Fourteen 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
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
innovators and 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.
Also at CES, Ford highlighted 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 on new vehicles this year.
“Ford is delivering an easier way for customers to stay
connected,” said Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group vice
president, 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 autonomous vehicles
Ford also highlighted the semi-autonomous vehicles it has on
the road today and fully autonomous vehicles now in development for the future.
“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, adding that “There will be a Ford
autonomous vehicle in the future, and we take putting one on the road very
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.
“Our priority is not in making marketing claims or being in
a race for the first autonomous car on the road,” Fields said, adding, “Our
priority is in making the first Ford autonomous vehicle accessible to the
masses and truly enhancing customers’ lives.
“Henry Ford taught us long ago that a good business makes
excellent products and earns a healthy return....A great business does all that
while creating a better world. That is what continues to drive us each day,”
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