Ford to use Google Prediction API

Another Google I/O announcement: Ford will use Google’s Prediction API to improve fuel efficiency and provide a better overall driving experience. Ford has been a clear leader in the telematics space with its Sync program but now its stepping outside the bounds of its relationship with Microsoft to include some of Google’s tools in its array of smart car features.

From the press release:

“This week, Ford researchers are presenting a conceptual case of how the Google Prediction API could alter the performance of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the 2011 Google I/O developer conference. In this theoretical situation, here’s how the technology could work:

  • After a vehicle owner opts in to use the service, an encrypted driver data usage profile is built based on routes and time of travel. In essence, the system learns key information about how the driver is using the vehicle
  • Upon starting the vehicle, Google Prediction will use historical driving behavior to evaluate given the current time of day and location to develop a prediction of the most likely destination and how to optimize driving performance to and from that location
  • An on-board computer might say, “Good morning, are you going to work?” If the driver is in fact going to work, the response would be, “Yes,” and then an optimized powertrain control strategy would be created for the trip. A predicted route of travel could include an area restricted to electric-only driving. Therefore, the plug-in hybrid could program itself to optimize energy usage over the total distance of the route in order to preserve enough battery power to switch to all-electric mode when traveling within the EV-only zone”

Johannes Kristinsson, systems architect, Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design, Ford Research and Innovation

“Ford already offers cloud-based services through Ford SYNC®, but those services thus far have been used for infotainment, navigation and real-time traffic purposes to empower the driver,” said Johannes Kristinsson, system architect, Vehicle Controls Architecture and Algorithm Design, Ford Research and Innovation. “This technology has the potential to empower our vehicles to anticipate the driver’s needs.”

“We realize that the nature of this research includes the use of personal data and location awareness, something we are committed to protecting for our customers in everything we do,” notes Kristinsson. “A key component of this project is looking at how to develop secure personal profiles that will ensure appropriate levels of protection and specific data use only by the driver and the vehicle to deliver the best driving experience.”

“It’s about pure customer benefit and creating individualized and optimized experiences – the right one for each person, vehicle and situation.”

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.

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