Ford Serious About the Cloud

Gary S. Vasilash

“With this technology”—cloud-based computing—“we are talking about pure customer benefit—creating the right individualized and optimized experience for each person, vehicle and situation. As our transportation system evolves—say, with lower emissions zones—the research we are doing now will help us meet the future needs of our customers. For examples, cars could one day adapt their powertrain performance to these types of varying driving conditions.” That’s Paul Mascarenas, chief technology officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation, speaking about the potential of the cloud prior to the opening of next week’s 18th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems.

This is not merely a matter of communicating with the cloud—this is being done right now, for example, with the Ford SYNC system—but using the compute power of the cloud so that there is predictive capabilities that would lead to an adjustment of the vehicle (e.g., if driving a gas-electric hybrid, the system could be used to switch to electric mode predicated on the driving path and any local regulations that may exist, thereby providing compliance along with the ability to reach the destination).

Here’s a look at what Ford engineers said at the Google I/O conference last May regarding their use of the Google Prediction API tool: