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13 September 2011, 11:34

Ford prepares app platform for connected cars of the future

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Ford is serious about the internet and the car: the US group is to build on the app model that has proven itself in smartphones. The new OpenXC platform will enable the development of open source software and accessories for Ford cars – for example, for audio engineering, safety systems, and external sensors.

Ford is working in partnership with the start-up Bug Labs. The company, founded five years ago, developed the open-source platform Bug System, in which individual programs or equipment modules can be combined for specific functions. The company also has a cloud-based service BUGswarm, in which data is processed and made available over the internet.

Ford announced the partnership with Bug Labs on Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. The companies claimed that the OpenXC system will allow new connectivity concepts to be quickly prototyped and tested. One example given was of a "socially-networked in-car fuel economy monitor connected to the Internet, via Bug Labs’ cloud-based service, BUGswarm."

At the International Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, Ford is about to present its new prototype, Evos, a car which is dedicated to networking. For example, it automatically retrieves traffic data from the internet and determines the necessary departure time for a journey, or it will tune the music level and suspension settings to suit the physical state of the driver or the weather conditions.

During the coming year Ford will initially bring the SYNC navigation and entertainment system to Europe. This voice-controlled system has been developed in the US together with Microsoft since 2007. OpenXC is intended to extend the functionality of a system such as SYNC.


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