CAR MAKER Ford is working with Google to analyse and optimise the performance of its engines and motor vehicles.
The firms announced a deal at the Google I/O event and Ford said that it would use the Google Prediction API (PDF) to boost its own research and to predict driver behaviour, something that human beings often fail to do when merging with traffic or joining a roundabout.
"The Google Prediction API allows us to utilise information that an individual driver creates over time and make that information actionable," said Ryan McGee, technical expert, vehicle controls architecture and algorithm design at Ford Research and Innovation.
"Between Google Prediction and our own research, we are discovering ways to make information work for the driver and help deliver optimal vehicle performance."
The car company will use the API to convert journey information, such as where and when people drive and turn it into 'useful real-time predictors', which we assume means information about their fuel efficiency, and possibly their sense of direction.
Google's APIs are an addition to work being carried out by Ford and it said that it had been working on its own data behaviour research for two years, albeit in a limited fashion.
"Ford already offers cloud-based services, but those services thus far have been used for infotainment, navigation and real-time traffic purposes to empower the driver," added Johannes Kristinsson, system architect, vehicle controls architecture and algorithm design at Ford Research and Innovation. "This technology has the potential to empower our vehicles to anticipate the driver's needs."
The two firms will show off a concept of how this could work later at the I/O event. There they will demonstrate how encrypted user profiles can be stored and built up, and once the vehicle is in motion suggest routes and journeys based on that information. Google added that all data will be encrypted and the service will be opt-in.
"Once the destination is confirmed, the vehicle would have instant access to a variety of real-time information so it can optimise its performance, even against factors that the driver may not be aware of," added McGee.
Hybrid vehicles, for example, could have their routes set so that the use of battery power is confined to areas where it is mandated by law, which the firms said is an increasing possibility.
Microsoft is also lending its attention to improved driving systems and has carried out research into how much attention speaking on the phone takes away from actual driving. It should come to no surprise to anyone that chatting is a distraction, but research has found that its not the distraction that is the problem, it is the individual's ability to deal with it.
We would say that amounts to the same thing. µ
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