Big data analysis and intelligent decision making are coming to the car. Ford is researching the use of real-time sensor data—radar and camera-based—that can help evaluate external factors affecting driver attention, including traffic congestion, and thus limit potential distractions, such as an incoming phone call.
Upgradeable, Customizable Hardware
Ford's OpenXC research platform looks at the potential for open-source, community-driven innovation of plug-and-play hardware modules that provide infinite opportunities for rapid customization.
Integration Across Cloud Ecosystems
The success of Ford SYNC has been linked to its open, agnostic platform strategy that has allowed for adoption and compatibility with the burgeoning mobile ecosystem. The next step is to do the same for the consumer shift toward cloud-based services.
Advanced Machine Learning
The new Ford Fusion and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids use EV+, a feature that learns the typical locations of charging, such as home and office, and then automatically maximizes electric-only driving mode when nearing those locations.
Ford is researching biometric sensors, such as those embedded in a car seat, to measure stress levels for a more personalized response from driver-assist technologies because skill levels—and thus stress—can vary in certain situations.
Ford researchers are looking at ways to predict driver behavior, including a driver's destination, based on prior history to help optimize and configure vehicle controls for improved performance, such as better energy management.
Rapid Data Authentication
Ford engineers see significant potential in vehicle-to-vehicle communications and are researching the technology globally, including advanced WiFi with rapid authentication capability so cars can exchange information quickly and securely, helping drivers avoid potential collisions.