Ford and Google develop ‘psychic cars’

The ‘psychic’ technology is being investigated by the motor industry and internet powerhouses as a way of increasing the range of electric vehicles.

If a car can predict where the driver is going to go, it can plan to make the best use of its electric range, whether the model is a hybrid or an all-electric car.

Ford hopes to take advantage of Google’s prediction based software which records the driver’s most travelled journeys and uses it to predict the likely destination.

For example, the car could save electric charge for an all-electric zone on the way, helping drivers avoid time-wasting diversions.

As expected, the technology is still at a very early stage, but Google has already tested self-driving cars in California across 140,000 miles so far.

Meanwhile, Ford is seen as a leader in driving aid technology. The new Ford Focus boasts Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Active Park Assist and a Low Speed Safety System.

It also uses Ford’s British-built EcoBoost petrol engines, Ford’s technology designed to increase power from smaller engines and improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

However, the manufacturer is currently testing hybrid and electric vehicles, in particular the all-electric Ford Focus which will go on sale in the UK late in 2012.

The current generation Ford Focus went on sale in the UK in March for a starting price of £15,995. The five-door hatchback will be joined by an estate version later in the year.

The Ford Focus ST will also join the range, boosting power and performance over the standard version of the hatchback.

However, it will be some time before the ‘psychic’ cars are sold under the Ford brand.