Google and Ford Collaborate on Cloud Cars

POSTED BY Greg IN News ON 12 May 2011

google ford 262x300 Google and Ford Collaborate on Cloud CarsGoogle are working together with Ford to create a cloud based system for enhancing vehicle performance.  Once completed, this technology will enable vehicles to attain optimal drivability and fuel efficiency, using cloud computing services and analytics.

Research into this new driving technology has been presented at the Google I/O developer conference, as a combination of the Google Prediction API and Ford’s own predictive driver behaviour data and analytics.  The combination of these technologies will enable vehicle data to be converted into real-time predictions such as departure and destination times and route selection.

This technology will work by creating a user profile of the driver, based on travel routes and travelling times.  Google Prediction then uses this data together with current time and location data to plan a route and implement optimal driving performance for the current conditions.  However, all of this real-time computing does require power, which is where the cloud comes into play.

“The cloud really gives two key advantages: access to real-time data and access to a whole lot of information,” says Ryan McGee, technical expert at Ford.  “The application we are talking about is for a plug-in hybrid, which has the ability to drive without the engine on. The car has a big battery but also can operate with gasoline as a conventional car.”

“There are geographical areas that define when the engine should turn itself off,” said McGee. “Cities looking to cut down on emissions can define where to implement this technology. In the electric-only driving zones, the engine will stay off. On-board GPS accesses mapping data and the online database of electric driving zones.”

While it may be a long way from being a commercial product, these kinds of technologies are likely to change the way we drive in the near future.  As vehicles become more electric, they are also likely to become more computerised and dependent on this kind of data-driven analytical approach.

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