Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Transportation has changed just a wee bit since the 18th century and its horse-and-buggy days, and we don’t just mean horsepower versus horsepower. Think about the experience then versus now. Wind-in-the-hair driving dynamics are about all the decades still have in common. Technology then was advanced, but technology now is almost sci-fi by comparison.
One of the most interesting has to do with communications through our vehicles. Now, you might expect this new wave of innovative technology to have some kind of computer-geeky name, but it’s actually the strangely entertaining and layman-understandable phrase “Internet of Things.” Those in the know call it IoT. Simply put, it’s communication between objects, thanks to an interconnected network, sensors, and the like. It’s smart technology to the max, and we already see it in ways such as talking to our kitchen appliances from outside the home.
On the automotive side, Ford and Intel are teaming up to explore new opportunities for the connected car, hoping to offer the ability to remotely peer into your car using a smartphone as well as facial recognition software that could identify the owner of the vehicle and automatically adjust features based on that person’s individual preferences, in addition to offering more privacy controls.
The collaborative project is called Mobile Interior Imaging (Project Mobii), and could create a more personalized and seamless interaction between you and your vehicle. Fun fact: Mobii research has included input from anthropologists.
As you know, Ford already utilizes exterior cameras on vehicles for driver-assist features, including Lane Departure Warning. Mobii will look into how to use cameras inside the vehicle. This could mean calendar, music and contacts specific to the person ID’d in the facial recognition software. If it doesn’t recognize the person? The vehicle owner gets a photo via smartphone and can then enable or disable features as needed. And imagine gesture recognition software, too, where your natural gestures could open the sunroof or turn up the A/C.
Connecting with the future is within arm’s length, and if Ford has its way, the future really will be just one “come here” gesture away from reality.