Deep in the bowels of Silicon Valley, at Ford’s recently opened Research and Innovation Center, you’ll find an industrious set of tech folk busier than a colony of worker ants.
The challenge? To find the smartest way for future humans to get around. Ask us, and we’ll promptly settle on water slides as the obvious solution and call it a day. Turns out future mobility doesn’t include as many Slip ‘N Slides as we’d like. Sigh...
A HEAVY DOSE OF TECH TONIC
In its quest to achieve ‘Smart Mobility’, Ford’s taken neat concepts like autonomous driving, in-car connectivity, human-machine interface and chucked them all into the blender.
The resulting experiments are a glimpse of future auto that is just as exciting for petrolheads as it is for tech junkies.
Ford’s no expert on printing. But the auto giant has joined hands with Redwood City-based Carbon3D (a company that’s developed Continuous Liquid Interface Product tech a.k.a. CLIP). Using this tech, 3D printing can be accelerated by up to a 100 times faster than conventional methods. Resulting parts boast of mechanical properties perfectly suited for its vehicles.
In fact, Ford’s already produced elastomer grommets for the Focus Electric using CLIP.
In dealing with the most congested of urban commutes, Ford’s looking at multimodal mobility to find an answer. Former flagbearers of the idea, the MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro eBikes are now joined by the newest sibling in the family: the MoDe:Flex.
The nifty looking two-wheeled machine connects seamlessly with a rider’s smartphone thanks to the MoDe:Link app. It then provides real- time information regarding weather, congestion, parking, public transport, etc. In fact, a new extension of the app for smartwatches puts all this delicious real-time data on the rider’s wrist. We’d give anything to know of an upcoming pothole that’s ready to break us.
Unlike what Hollywood would like you to believe, autonomous tech is more about a safer driving experience rather than Terminators with authority problems. Ford’s already equipped many of its vehicles with semi- autonomous tech - lane- departure warning, active park assist, driver assist, blind-spot monitoring and in the US. So far, none of these drivers have reported their vehicles plotting murder with other Fords.
While we’re yet to find wearable tech’s most essential purpose, Ford’s not ignoring the new category of tech in its mission. The company’s MyFord app provides its electric and hybrid vehicle users with critical stats such as driving range, battery charge and parking location. But a cool new extension for the app will soon put all that info right onto your wrist.