Silicon Valley is a long way from Detroit, but Ford wants to show the world how serious they are about advancing their tech, by opening a new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California.
Dragos Maciuca—a former Apple engineer with a background in consumer electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, aerospace and automotive— will lead the new research center. By the end of the year, Ford expects the new center to have 125 staff members, which will make it one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in Silicon Valley.
If you’re planning to pursue an automotive career, read on to learn about some of the innovative new gadgets that Ford has come up with since the opening of its new research center.
Eco-Friendly Automotive Technology
If you are thinking of enrolling in automotive courses, you probably already know that many automotive companies have been making an effort to produce “green” vehicles, and this has prompted the introduction of a wide range of hybrid cars to the market. One of Ford’s specialties happens to be the use of recycled materials. In fact, the company has developed methods of using recycled plastic water bottles as well as soy-based foam to upholster its car seats. Experts know that these technologies were first used on the 2008 Mustang.
At the new center in Palo Alto, Ford has also been experimenting with some other interesting natural materials, such as rice hulls and tomato pulp discarded by Heinz. Mixing tomato pulp with plastic creates an inexpensive, yet tough material that may potentially be used in the production of Ford vehicles soon.
Advances in Automotive Connectivity
Lately, automotive companies have been introducing tons of new tech including; front, rear and roof-mounted cameras, as well as radar systems—all of which have become standard features in most cars. Mechanic college graduates know that while these tech features are typically used for assisted driving, they can also transmit data to servers, in order to communicate weather conditions and more.
Ford’s latest efforts are to increase communication between Ford vehicles. One advantage to this initiative is that it might tackle the problem of finding parking in the city. New technology could allow Ford vehicles to continuously scan for available parking, then upload data to a server that would let other Ford drivers know where there’s an available spot.
Alternative Transportation for City-Dwellers
Most people know that driving to the office can sometimes be tricky, since there is usually traffic and finding a parking spot can be time-consuming. In an effort to give its customers another option for getting around, Ford has created the foldable MoDe:Flex e-bike prototype.
The e-bike folds in half and can easily be stored in the trunk of any Ford vehicle. While it’s stowed away, it can recharge and receive updates for its many features. The bike connects to its rider’s smartphone and has an app that gathers real-time information about the weather, public transportation, traffic and more. It also offers navigation and fitness information. Additionally, the e-bike features turn signals at the end of handlebars that vibrate to let riders know of an upcoming pothole.
Check out this video to get a first-hand look at the Ford MoDe:Flex e-bike: