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Ford Uses Google For a New Type of Smart Car 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the soon-everything-will-be-google dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Ford is using Google technology, specifically its Prediction API, to create a new brand of smart cars. The famous American car company announced it's teaming up with Google to use Prediction API in future cars. The API will be able to use historical driving data and turn it into real time predictions, such as where a driver is headed at the time of a departure. From there, an on-board computer might communicate with the driver, and trigger an optimized power-train control strategy. For an electric car, a predicted route of travel could include an area restricted to electric only driving. Thus, a plug-in hybrid would be able to optimize energy and preserve battery by switching to an all electric mode during travel."
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Ford Uses Google For a New Type of Smart Car

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  • So, Aida but worse? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huQLyjwskQo [youtube.com]

  • And then... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Using the data Google gathers online about you and associating it with your car (you know they would be able to), you could figure out what kind of consumer most often frequents certain roads. You could then determine what kinds of physical ads would be most effective in a given location and sell this data. So here it is - targeted advertisements on billboards, brought to you by google and ford.
    • They would need Ted Turner as a partner then!
    • by qubezz (520511)

      Some bullet points of the Google Prediction API: [google.com]

      • -Customer sentiment analysis
      • -Upsell opportunity analysis
      • -Suspicious activity identification...

      I would be unsurprised if it was sponsored by the FBI [gizmodo.com]? (cops with a budget [nytimes.com] of $4.4 billion), easy one-stop-shopping data collection with a handy web interface, no subpoena needed?

      • I wish they would let the market operate. Since we can't stop all of this data collection, can I at least offer to sell them all of my information directly? That way I at least get some value back for my life data.
    • by inKubus (199753)

      Dude, we know you're working for Facebook now, no sense posting as a Coward.

    • Why do people make such a big deal about targetted ads?

      What difference does it make what is on the billboard?

    • by Reapman (740286)

      Ya your right, Billboards might start showing ad's related to their local areas!! Because I know where I live I only see billboards for foreign country businesses. Oh the humanity of it all!

  • Are they also selling all the private driving record to Google? With GPS tracking as well, written with the fine print? Maybe they also will provide for free (as a beer) an in car internet (again all the collecting data is not yours...)?
  • by MikeDirnt69 (1105185) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:30PM (#36122454) Homepage
    Are boring. Dumb cars are much more fun to drive IMHO.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      The best car will be the one that makes you feel like you're taking the bus, but on your personal schedule and route. I.e., the one that chauffeurs you.

      • by Roduku (950552)
        That's what I've been waiting for... a dial-up destination system. Doubt that will ever come about, though. Think of all the revenue lost when they can't stop you for DUI, speeding, improper lane change and the myriad other traffic related offenses. Also could make a driver's license a thing of the past. But, then, how would they keep tabs on people?
        • by Cerium (948827)

          Really?

          I'm not one to worry about all the tracking and what-not that's going on (though, admittedly, I probably should). But there are a plethora of ways such a system could track you. I'd even argue that it'd be significantly easier than any existing system we have now. For instance, using the whole automated car as an example:

          The car will need an on-board computer with internet access so it can accurately look up the "quickest" route to your destination. Since it requires internet access, it could/would h

        • I wouldn't worry about lost revenue, it would be more than compensated for by a reduction in the number of accidents caused those who drive drunk, speed, and improperly change lanes... Computers should be much better at keeping to the rules and preventing accidents than humans.

      • The best car will have an engine with a flat torque curve, high amounts of available torque, a high redline, a manual gearbox, a limited slip diff, rear wheel drive, and only enough computing power to manage the engine and other critical mechanical systems.

  • I wonder how MS(Sync) and Google will coexist in the same car. Will Sync go ahead and call AAA for you in an attempt to smear the Google provided route? Will Google go ahead and terminate your Bluetooth connection for you because it thinks you shouldn't be on the phone? Will they both attempt to buy out the ECU for the marketshare of the computer network in the car?

    Could be fun, to watch, not to drive.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I wonder how MS(Sync) and Google will coexist in the same car. Will Sync go ahead and call AAA for you in an attempt to smear the Google provided route? Will Google go ahead and terminate your Bluetooth connection for you because it thinks you shouldn't be on the phone? Will they both attempt to buy out the ECU for the marketshare of the computer network in the car?

      Could be fun, to watch, not to drive.

      I'm certain the facebook car already hates it.

    • by inKubus (199753)

      Everyone knows it's going to be Apple vs. Everyone soon. I predict a massive dilution in shareholder value coming! They have nothing in their hand and they know it. It's a classic case of luck, and they deserve it to a certain extent. But they are not going to continue getting lucky like iPod+iPhone. I mean, that's like rolling 10 7's in a row.

  • Yet another layer of complexity and technology to squeeze out, what, a couple percentage points of "efficiency"? This is Rube Goldberg nonsense.

    • by Firehed (942385)

      2% * all cars on the road is still a pretty substancial impact.

      • by sgage (109086)

        2% is pretty much the depletion rate. But my point is really that an immense amount of complicated tech is going into a paltry bit of gain. Anything but recognizing the problem. The problem isn't getting a couple of percentage points better mileage (which I doubt this will do anyway). The problem is too many people, too many cars, and declining oil production.

    • by Hultis (1969080)
      That could be said about pretty much every single technological improvement. Every little helps - we wouldn't have the technology we have today if we dismissed breakthroughs because they didn't completely revolutionize the industry.
      • by sgage (109086)

        It's not a breakthrough. It is another layer of complexity to eke out a bit more mileage. What is the infrastructure required to provide this (non) breakthrough? How robust is it?

        We don't need cars that get 2% more mileage - we need a Plan B. We haven't got one.

        • by Jeremi (14640)

          We don't need cars that get 2% more mileage - we need a Plan B. We haven't got one.

          There's always the default Plan B -- stop driving.

    • by jheath314 (916607)

      Agreed. A much simpler solution would be a little toggle switch you could hit to drop the car into electric-only mode at your discretion. However, such an obvious solution has the disadvantage of not requiring your car to track you and record voluminous details on your commuting habits, which is the real reason behind this innovation.

      I don't want "smart" tech, I want obedient tech. And if I was was worried about efficiency, I'd put bigger tires on my truck to get the whole cat in one pass.

  • It will take you to the parking lots or navigate you past businesses who have bought search results.

  • No specific model or date mentioned. Car makers have been "promising" many interesting new technologies and features for a while now. Why exactly is this bullshit article considered "news for nerds" again?
  • by MrQuacker (1938262) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:44PM (#36122550)
    How soon until it beams all that data to your insurance company and the FBI?
  • Google will delight you with targeted advertising through your car stereo or gps device based on your historical web searches, driving destinations and other sources. Maybe tell you shopping deals coming up at the next mall you pass.
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:46PM (#36122568) Homepage

    Up until the past five years, the quality of Ford has always sucked. From the chassis, engine, to interior. The quality has been lackluster. But for the most part, Ford has done a 180. Their Focus and Edge series are really nice with good engines. Now that they're teaming up with Google and other technologies firms that already have the experience, I'm very optimistic about that company. Especially after they beat out GM in sales without much government assistance.

    Someone lit a fire under their ass. It's about time! My next car might be Ford. Never in my life have I thought to say that.

  • as long as they don't track my location data!
  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:56PM (#36122628) Journal

    an unholy marriage between Microsoft Sync and Google Prediction API: Auto Navigation Clippy.

    Clippy: "Hi! I see you're trying to drive to your drug dealer's place again. Would you like me to take over?"

    Driver: "No! Heheh, I don't know why the computer would say that, Mom."

    Mom: <glare>

    • by Lucidus (681639)
      I immediately thought of auto-formatting in Word, which often leaves me swearing at my computer when it algorithmically decides to deviate from something I just explicitly told it to do. In a car, this could be really dangerous.
  • 5 years... 5 years people, once your car finds out it can get free pr0n on the internet, we're all screwed!
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      once your car finds out it can get free pr0n on the internet, we're all screwed!

      The situation you describe leads to an exponential proliferation of free pr0n on the internet.

  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Friday May 13, 2011 @06:35PM (#36122902) Journal
    You know how you don't shift up going up hills sometimes. A predictive shifter could be made if you had a database of elevation charts.
    • Automatic transmissions can already handle hills. No database required. What would a database-driven predictive shifter do?

      • Automatic transmissions can already handle hills. No database required. What would a database-driven predictive shifter do?

        In a hybrid: Optimize the operation of the engine on trips so:
        - going through mountains you arrive at the highest pass with batteries near minimum charge - ready to recapture the energy of your descent from the mountain to power your trip across the following valley
        - you arrive at the foothills with full charge to enable you to keep your speed going up the mountains, bu

  • Isn't the point of driving a car that it *isn't* optimized? You see a cool store and stop to check it out, go to get groceries, then maybe go for a spirited drive in the country? It's the essence of the american dream, freedom, mobility, and life on your own terms.

    If you're serious about all this energy saving "use less" mentality, then don't drive a car. The solution isn't to reduce our usage, but to find denser, more efficient, power generation and storage to replaces gasoline.
    • by hajus (990255)

      Ever ride shotgun? How much trouble have you had going to a cool store and stop to check it out? You'll be able to do it more with this as there's no strict driver to argue and say no.

    • Isn't the point of driving a car that it *isn't* optimized? You see a cool store and stop to check it out, go to get groceries, then maybe go for a spirited drive in the country? It's the essence of the american dream, freedom, mobility, and life on your own terms.

      I think you fail to recognize that some Americans dream of sitting in their car while it drives them, thus freeing us to get back to our mobile information fixation devices, or other forms of instantaneous gratifications such as the orgasmatron. The cool stores all have websites, grocers deliver (yes, in my neighborhood), much of the "country" I knew in my youth has been paved...

      (Speaking of country, that reminds me: While scanning across several stations I came across a "country music" station -- I don

  • ... where a smart car discovered through car network chatter that the best way to optimize its service lifetime was to ... get rid of its aggressive driver owner through a series of false failures - and then find a little old lady for a second owner, who kept it parked in a garage 99% of each week.

    Kudos to readers who can find the story citation and its authors.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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