Ford’s innovation challenge – the winners

Ford is well-known as a keen innovator. Recently the manufacturer has teamed up with Microsoft to create new voice recognition technology, introduced a blind spot information system and planned the release of a number of electric cars.

Now, students at the University of Michigan in the US have teamed up with Ford to create ideas for a new ‘in car experience’.

The winning idea will be used in a Ford Fiesta prototype – with the possibility it could be employed in production Ford vehicles in the future.

The winner was a Caravan Track application. It allows people travelling in separate vehicles the chance to track each other throughout a journey. Users can check vehicle speeds and fuel, and warn others of potential hazards ahead and road conditions, all without the need to type.

This wasn’t the only clever idea. Other entries included:

Fuel Tracker – Provides real time feedback about fuel economy and driving habits based on other drivers who have used the same route.

The GreenRide Challenge – Connects drivers with others who may be interested in car sharing using social media such as Facebook.

Listen. Speak. Rate. Share – Uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites to provide audio reviews of places people have visited.

HostraMap – Collects data about road and traffic conditions. It can serve as a warning of delays and accidents which can be updated for all users.

Points-of-Interest – Can point drivers towards businesses and locations which matches with their interests.

Ford generally has a very good social media presence and it is interesting to see interaction that could actively affect the technology of the future in some of the biggest-selling cars in the UK such as the Ford Focus and Fiesta models.