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Car of the Future - From the Ford Trend Conference

You spend hours in your car every week. What do you wish your car would do for you?
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Last week I had the chance to attend the Ford Trend Conference in Detroit. It was my first visit to the Motor City and it was a great time.

But let's get down to business:

What do you think the car of the future should be like? Most of you spend hours in your car everyday: shuttling kids, groceries, work, and sometimes animals all around town. What would make your drive safer, your gas mileage better, your lifer easier?


I listened to Steve Wozniak (you might remember him, he invented the personal computer) and Jim Buczkowski, who is responsible for Ford's electrical engineering team, incorporating electronics technologies into our vehicles, tell us about the car of the future.

We already have cars with navigation systems, but why should you ever have to program your home or work into the system--it should be automatic. We already have cars that can park themselves, but what about a car that looks ahead to find a parking space for you and reserves that space, before you even get to your location?

And why, on earth, when you leave your house, do you have to hit that button to close the garage door instead of your house and car doing it for you?

What else could a car of the future do? Here are a few things that Ford's concept EVOS car could do:

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  • Manage stop-and-go traffic for you
  • Intelligent shuffle that turns on the type of music you like to listen to on specific portion of your drive (rock music for the freeway, calm music for the carpool pickup lane)
  • Alert you when it looks like you're falling asleep at the wheel
  • Suggest a more scenic route if you have more time
  • Let's you know when there's congestion or an accident so you can re-route
  • Save your texts and calls for later
  • Sense that you're stressed and reduce the incoming distractions
  • Detect an increase in pollution outside of the car and activate a filter
  • Find a parking space that will charge your car for you
  • Tell your house you're almost home so it turns on your lights or heats/cools your space

As Wozniak said, what do people really want? To get the tool out of the way. Technology is the worst when it won't do what you want it to do. It's wonderful when it does what you want almost before you even know you want it. People want their car to be better, but they don't want it to turn into a computer.

I drove a Ford Escape the next day that, when I plugged in my phone, automatically started playing the song I was already listening to before I got into the car. I don't know about you, but something as small as that made me just happier to be in the car.

I wish my car had a way to hold groceries in a more climate-controlled way. I would love a car that runs on hydrogen--so its only emission is water. I want a car that will drive itself for the times when I don't want to drive--or a car that drives itself to help keep elderly relatives more independent for longer.

What do you think? What do you wish a car could do for you?

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