CES 2016: Ford talks about autonomous cars and smart mobility

The CES for the year seems like a bold display of autonomous cars and Internet of Things sensors. Ford is also jumping into the field adding to the various announcements from the companies like Volkswagen and Faraday Future. Mark Fields, CEO Ford, talked about the increasing number of car owners and subsequently increasing harmful emissions and how Ford is tackling the situation. Ford ‘peer2peer’ car sharing is out of testing into pilots. Ford peer2peer allows you to share or rent cars among your friends. The pilot is called ‘go!drive’ and focuses on millennials as the primary users of the service.

CES 2016 Ford

Fields also announced that Ford is going to release 13 electric vehicles to the market by 2020 emphasizing on having the most electric vehicles patents than any other company in the domain. Moving on to “Smart Mobility ”, Ford Sync, the company’s infotainment system which is in the third generation now (Sync 3 Applink) will be fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and hence on all the 2017 Ford Sync3 models, starting with the new Ford Escape. The apps for Sync can now be easily developed using the new open-sourced standard called “Smart Device Link”. Along with Ford, Toyota, QNX and UIEvolution are adopting the standard.

Ford CES 2016 CarPlay
Android Auto on Ford Sync platform

The Internet of Things is in the center of the stage this CES and Ford didn’t hesitate to talk about it. Fields talked about how Amazon’s Echo can be used to command your vehicle to start or even tell Echo from the car to turn off the lights at home. The possibilities are endless. Ford also partnered with DJI, a company that specializes in making drones to make a developer challenge to get drones talk to cars. This can help find victims of disasters and reaching to them comparatively quickly than before.

CES 2016 Ford IoT
Ford and Amazon tie up

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Ford moving on to its core with CT, Raj Nair on stage announced its transition to “advanced engineering” of the autonomous vehicles from the research phase. About 30 Ford Fusion hybrids are already on te testing tracks. Nair claimed that Ford did better than any other big automakers in the DARPA challenge and gives us a solid hint on its potential to work out the autonomous cars. Ford is going to have the third-generation LIDAR device from Velodyne which is the most advanced and comparatively small sized LIDAR system.

CES 2016 Ford Sensors
Velodyne LIDAR sensor

As Ford’s CEO, Mark Fields took the stage, we were desperately waiting for the announcement of Ford tying up with Google for its current involvement in developing autonomous vehicles as we expected earlier. But there was no moment catering to the expectations at the press conference. Maybe, later?


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