Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Ford Technology

Ford EVOS Concept Interior

At the Frankfurt Motorshow, Ford unveiled their Evos concept car. As we all know, concept cars don’t get factory produced, but their features are an indication as to the direction of that car company, a road map or a DNA if you will. In fact, we were informed to watch out from the next 4 months for some Evos features appearing in production cars. Whilst a lot can be said about the design and specific aspects of the Evos, it could well be the technological concepts that stand this concept apart.

At the Frankfurt Motorshow, Ford unveiled their Evos concept car. As we all know, concept cars don’t get factory produced, but their features are an indication as to the direction of that car company, a road map or a DNA if you will. In fact, we were informed to watch out from the next 4 months for some Evos features appearing in production cars. Whilst a lot can be said about the design and specific aspects of the Evos, it could well be the technological concepts that stand this concept apart.

Firstly, idea of being permanently connected to the cloud. Over the past year cloud computing has become a real buzz phrase across all industries heavily affected by technology, so its not surprising that its being bandied about in the automotive sphere. Now this isn’t exactly what I’d call a new idea by any means, but using the cloud to check on the driver’s profile, diary plans, and route, coupled with weather, traffic conditions and driver’s health to subsequently affect the determined route, chassis, drive settings and responsiveness of the car are all interesting ideas (did you get all that??). In fact, it opens the door to an awful lot more possibilities to make driving more comfortable and easier. Paul Mascarenas believes that the technology is there already – its integrating and implementing it that’s delaying it. And although this may be true to an extent, whilst we still struggle to get phone reception around the UK, I might sit on the fence a little bit. Unless Ford have developed some new magic 3G fairies…

Although some might consider that to be invasive and a long way off, it is certainly within the realms of possibility. What is definitely on the horizon is the oncoming Sync technology developed by Microsoft, who bring their software knowledge and understanding to the table to enhance the entertainment and control features of the onboard computing inside Ford cars. This seemingly will be somewhat limited in its first phase of implementation, and will mostly just turn the car into a wifi hotspot. Upon further questioning, this is only if the car itself can connect to another internet source, such as your smartphone or a dongle. So I think that this will be quite a limited function, although the ability to introduce an app store and update firmware remotely sounds like a dynamite idea and if the EU offering can match up with the US it’ll begin to take off. I used to use Pandora when it was available outside of the States, which is incorporated into the Sync. Now I use Spotify, and as a premium user, I’d hope to use that in the car as well.

Whilst this is all good news, the development of MyKey could prove divisive. This technology, already debuted in the US, allows parents to have a degree of control over how fast the car travels – with warnings to the young driver. It even is capable of muting the audio unless the seatbelt is plugged in. Whilst the younger driver is likely to put the developer’s face on their dart board (do kids play darts anymore?), the parents will be much happier, and are even likelier to get a slightly lower insurance cost.

Other technology Ford had to display and discuss were the features we got used to in the Ford Focus we had driven across from Paris. This included Active City Stop, Active Park Assist, Lane Keeping Aid & Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Driver Alert. Active city stop monitors the road in front of you if you are travelling under 30kmph, and actively breaks the car for you to prevent or minimise collision – ideal if you’ve looked the wrong way and not realised, or the person you thought was moving simply hasn’t whilst you glance the other way. Active Park Assist is the automatic parallel parking feature that’s in the new Focus advert – where the car recognises spaces you can fit in and does the indicating and steering for you, all you have to do is start and stop. You can view our video of it below, from the first UK test drive.

Driver alert monitors your driving and responsiveness, and tells you if it thinks you’re tired and should stop for a coffee or rest. It also is capable of measuring your driving style over the journey and rates how economically you’ve performed – giving you green petals on a flower as well as an overall ranking, such as “Eco Champion”. To be honest, as wonderfully helpful as some of this is, it doesn’t half sound like they’ve managed to develop a nagging wife of a system to accompany you everywhere to tell you that your drifting lanes, that you need a coffee, that your speeding, and so on and so forth.

The stand at the show was large enough to have its own testing track to give some of these a go, including the Active City Stop, where you are encouraged to drive at a steady speed towards a lowered reflective barrier. Nerve wracking stuff, but it certainly is a good way to demonstrate the actual benefit this brings to city driving and what it can do to help eliminate all those accidents the absent minded driver can cause.

They tell us that this isn’t to replace the driver, or that we still need to concentrate, but we can’t help feeling, with all this tech, our job is getting easier and easier…

There is also a little more fun to be had than just simply seeing the sort of tech on offer. Ford’s WRC team are well known, and they’ve tried to bring a bit of that magic to the motorshow through their rally track simulator. You strap yourself in and have a real go around a short course, with scores being recorded and put on a leader board – Top Gear style.

A good lot of tech on show here and a promising future for cars moving forwards, not just for Ford but for the whole automotive industry if they all take a hint from one-another.

ford-frankfurt-motor-show

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