Ford, Google, Facebook Collaborating on a Mobile World
Cars were an original way people stay connected, says Ford. Google and Facebook are helping to make it still true today.NEW YORK—In a car market rampant with claims about the most-efficient brands and greenest vehicles, Ford executives are looking for an application that can help consumers to understand how they personally can create a more fuel-efficient experience. During a keynote address at the New York International Auto Show here March 27, Ford officials announced a $50,000 Personalized Fuel Efficiency Apps Challenge. The contest highlights that, more than terrain or weather, the way we drive is the biggest determinant of fuel efficiency. But it also underscores the growing ties between the automotive and mobile device worlds, and how cars, like smartphones, are becoming increasingly personal and in sync with users' other devices and lives. After delivering the keynote, Jim Farley, Ford's approachable and strikingly earnest-seeming chief marketing officer, moved to a much smaller side room where for a far smaller crowd he sat alongside representatives from Google and Facebook and discussed the still nascent stages of what's widely expected to be a tremendous development in automaking.
Regarding the app contest he'd just announced, Farley said it was a "big deal" to decide to make it opt-in. App developers will have access to Ford's OpenXC open-source development platform, which can read real-time sensor data such as mileage, throttle position, vehicle speed and more—all valuable data points.