The automobile has come a long way since Henry Ford debuted his brand new car, the Model T, in 1908. That car, which introduced the country to a whole new world of technological innovations, was just the first step in a continuing process of refinement to create safer, more comfortable, and better performing cars. While the automotive industry has been introducing technological advances gradually over the last century, 2014 looks to be a huge leap for technology in cars in the form of digital user interfaces.
A quick glance at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, is very telling for where consumers and industry experts alike see the future of cars heading. A new partnership between technology companies NVIDIA and Google, along with a handful of car makers, is looking to forgo proprietary software in favor of Google Android-powered open source software in order to move towards what people are calling a “connected” car. This Google powered technology looks to serve two main functions in cars. The first is vehicle-to-vehicle safety systems that can interact with other cars or even potentially traffic lights or cameras, whereby the car can either alert the driver or even assist in braking or handling. Secondly, they can work in providing the driver with information or safe-for-driving entertainment. Access to music, navigation, and email can be used and also synced with data at home or in the office.
Always a step ahead, Ford released Ford SYNC in 2007 which allows drivers to make telephone calls, control music, and even order pizza without having to take a hand off the wheel. The Ford SYNC system, which uses a Microsoft Windows-based software, can sync with other devices via Bluetooth or USB and can get 911 assistance, check traffic reports, get access to car health reports, and even remotely access an office computer. Since 2007, Ford has continued to improve and update SYNC and has included it in a significant number of new Ford cars and Ford trucks.
These technologies are helping to pave the way for a safer, more enjoyable automobile for the future and Ford is leading the way. There is no limit to what having connected cars can provide for consumers, and it will be exciting to see where the technology takes the automotive industry.