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5 Ways Ford is integrating tech into its future vision

Ford is best known as the manufacturer of some of the most iconic cars in history, from the Model T to the Mustang. While it’s still business as usual for the Dearborn, Michigan-based motoring giant, the increasing pace of technological convergance means that it is no longer possible just to be a car manufacturer. Therefore, Ford now claims that it is looking to increase its presence in the tech space. Here Memeburn explores five ways it is doing this.

1. Wireless connectivity
Ford is serious about wireless leading the way when it comes to connectivity in its vehicles. “Last year we doubled our investment in wirelessly connected vehicles” says Bill Ford, the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford and executive chairman of the Ford Motor company. Some of Ford’s wireless innovations have included wireless security and in-car Wi-Fi. One security feature even allows parents to wirelessly connect to their children’s cars and monitor their driving.

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2. Silicon Valley connections
Ford recently opened up a top notch research facility in Palo Alto, California. The research centre is designed to help it maintain connections with Apple, Microsoft, Google, and a vibrant startup scene. More importantly, however, it means that it now has a base in one of the world’s great technological hubs. For a start, this paves the way for it to attract top tech talent in the area as well as from nearby universities like Stanford.

3. Apps
Yes we know, every man and his robot pet dog have an app these days. Here’s the thing though, Ford is doing some pretty cool things with its apps, things that go way beyond just advertising the cars it sells.One app helps electric car drivers get the most distance out of their cars. That may not sound all that exciting, but when you can’t be 100% certain where your next charging point is, it could be lifesaver.

Ford’s attitude towards apps isn’t all about building them either. Its in-car Sync system — developed in conjunction with Microsoft — allows you to integrate apps like Pandora, iHeartRadio, Stitcher Smart Radio, and TM Slacker® Radio, into your driving experience. Thing is, a number of these apps are only available in a limited number of developed markets for now.

4. Car design
People have been using computers and computer modelling in car design for pretty much as long as it’s been possible. Ford is taking things a step further by pulling its designers out from behind the computer and putting them into — virtual — cars. By using virtual reality outlays, Ford can take a lot of the trial and error out of car design, especially when it comes to ergonomics and driver experience. It claims the same system can also be used to make sure that the people building your cars have the best possible environment for doing so. Memeburn tried the system out at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), admittedly in a controlled environment, and we were pretty impressed.

5. The Cloud
Ford also showed off its ambitions for cloud motoring at NAIAS. In the tech world, the cloud is still very much a buzz word, with big players such as Amazon and Microsoft making significant plays in the space. Ford’s plans for the cloud are lofty, to say the least. The company portrays a future in which your car communicates with your house, the former adjusting its internal temperature to that of the latter. Given that it is the cloud, Ford also reckons that it will be able to provide you with all your databases and contacts. Most ambitiously, however, it plans on using the cloud to drive your car to hospital if you have a heart attack.

It should be noted, though, that Ford didn’t provide any details on how it intends to do this. Whether it builds its own data banks or outsources the whole shebang to a provider (or number of providers), it’ll be a massive shot in the arm for the tech industry.

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