All around the world, we use our cars every day — to pick up the kids from school, to visit the supermarket to buy groceries, and to commute to work. Cars are incredibly convenient, but navigating through traffic and parking presents an unwanted challenge. Here’s how Ford, one of the world’s longest-running car brands, is using technology to solve problems and revolutionise the future of driving.
Image credit: Ford Smart Mobility
At MWC Shanghai, Ford unveiled new Smart Mobility developments and innovative projects that have the potential to change the way we drive on the roads of our cities. Not only is Ford already changing the way that individual drivers travel with its SYNC smart hands-free in-car navigation, but it’s using that same technology to supercharge mass transport like shuttle buses.
Ford is working with Panda Shuttle, an established shuttle bus company in Dalian, China, to transform the way that the company transports city travellers. A scheduling tool developed with the expertise of China’s Tsinghua University lets Panda Shuttle’s Ford Transit shuttle buses work more effectively, saving time for commuters, operating more efficiently through traffic and congestion, and giving riders more information about their journeys.
The Ford Panda Dynamic Shuttle project uses an algorithm inside the company’s mobile app to respond to changing commuter demand, letting the company schedule more services during peak times. Riders can book a seat in advance and share where they’ll get on and off, letting the Panda Shuttles choose the most efficient routes and drop-off points, cutting travel times by 35 per cent versus a regular passenger shuttle.
Ford’s Smart Mobility technology means the futuristic Panda Dynamic Shuttle can operate at all hours of the day, even when public transport has shut down, with users always aware of where buses are in real time — and with the flexibility of stopping only where customers need. It’s a vision of a future where all the vehicles on the roads we share are working to their maximum efficiency, increasing convenience and saving resources.
Even if you’re driving yourself to work, though, you have to find a place to park. And Ford’s Smart Mobility has the answer to that, too. An experiment run at Ford’s Shanghai headquarters saw employees driving their Ford SYNC-powered cars to the office, then use the SYNC in-car navigation to ‘unlock’ a dedicated car parking spot run by smart parking provider Ding Ding, easing the frustration of finding a free park in a busy city.
Parking takes time in our cities, and Ford is working to solve that. Another Smart Mobility innovation shown at MWC Shanghai used the power of your smartphone and the sharing economy to run a customised, app-driven valet service that let users drop their cars off wherever they wanted, have them parked securely and safely, and then summon them later at the touch of a button to anywhere nearby that they could conveniently meet.
More than just creating some of the world’s best and most innovative vehicles, Ford is working to revolutionise the way that we use our cars and how we interact with the cities and environments that we travel through. Ford Smart Mobility uses technology to transform travel in the world of tomorrow and beyond.
Together with Panda Shuttle, an established shuttle bus company in Dalian, China, and Tsinghua University, Ford developed a scheduling tool to provide more flexible and effective transport services during periods of high and low demand. The Panda Dynamic Shuttle project employs an algorithm in Panda Shuttle’s mobile app to enable the company to more dynamically schedule the stops and routes of a fleet of Ford Transit shuttle buses.