Bill Ford, chairperson of Ford Motor company, has an ambitious, innovative, and long-term plan for how we should use cars.
To coincide with the company’s new research laboratory in Silicon Valley, Ford gave a talk on his vision for network mobility in transportation at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.
Automakers Must Do More Than Sell Cars
Ford says that we are approaching potential gridlock in major cities around the world. There will be too many people driving too many cars, and he believes that it is Ford’s responsibility to prevent this problem. (Ford also gave a TED talk on the topic.) This is a radical idea coming from the second oldest U.S. automobile manufacturer: the company will accept and even encourage a new, communal car culture. An affront to it traditional business model. That is, the company will sell “personal mobility” products, in Ford’s works, not just cars.
Cars Are About Mobility and Networking
Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside networking will quickly become important, says Ford. More and more vehicles will have built-in networking computers for inter-vehicle communication and Internet access. Networked cars will change the transportation system in innumerable ways. Improved safety and travel efficiency are the immediate goal— Save time, save lives.
User Experience is Key
Ford made a strong argument that consumer mobile and automated driving technologies must be safety-oriented and user-centered to be successful. Ford’s partnership with Microsoft, SYNC, for voice-controlled driving assistance and entertainment has been a success, Ford says, because it’s intuitive and not overly stuffed with technical features. Last year, the company announced the OpenXC platform for hardware and software integration with the SYNC system , including real-time, web-based applications.