The cars on our roads are getting smarter than ever, and they're evolving quickly. The next car that you buy could be connected to the internet every second that you travel, using that data to make your journey safer and more efficient, and making your life — even when you're not driving — more streamlined and stress-free. Here's what you can imagine from the future of the automobile.
Image credit: Ford Smart Mobility
Ford's approach to the concept of 'smart mobility' is a completely new take on how we might interact with our cars in the future. You might not even need to own a car to get the advantages of one. That's what a mobility app for your smartphone like FordPass can do. FordPass is already available in some parts of the world, and will be coming to Australia in the future.
FordPass is a 'mobility' app in every sense of the word — it's not only about driving, but integrates public transport like trains and buses, and sharing economy participants through ride-sharing, to make your point-to-point journeys more efficient and seamless, helping you blend the most effective methods of transport to get to where you need to be without the hassle of planning.
But if you're a Ford owner, FordPass even helps you along your drive by searching for parking, communicating when your SYNC Connect-equipped car needs petrol or a check-up, and can navigate your way to a dealer to make any of these things happen. You can even use your phone to unlock and start your car if you're in a hurry.
Imagine being able to pre-book a parking spot in the middle of a busy city — any regular driver knows just how valuable this can be. A Ford Smart Mobility-powered future could see all of a city's parking — whether it's run by a parking company, or shared on a regular basis by private owners through the sharing economy — available to easily book.
Even the process of parking will, one day, become a thing of the past. We're already seeing cars that can park themselves semi-autonomously, using a suite of hardware sensors like radar, ultra-sonics and motion detectors as well as automatic power steering to guide your car into a parking spot without any of your input needed.
But as our cities grow more connected, you might not even need to own a car by yourself. Lease-sharing is a whole new take on vehicle ownership — imagine, through your smartphone, being able to organise the time that you need to use your car, as well as share the cost of fuel and maintenance without any extra effort or inconvenience.
The drive itself gets more advanced in the smart mobility world of the future, too. When cars talk to each other through the internet, they can communicate road conditions and more effectively distribute themselves across inter-city routes, removing you from the traffic that you're used to and making your travels both faster and less frustrating.
In the future, your car will even be able to talk not just to other cars, but to your home. Picture a scenario where it's a chilly winter's evening, and you're commuting home to your apartment after a long day at work. Why not turn the air conditioning on — through your car's touchscreen — while you're still on the way, making sure it's warm and comfortable when you arrive?
The future of smart mobility will use your car and your smartphone together, through the power of the internet, to enhance not only your driving experience but the whole way that you interact with the world that you live in.
A Ford Smart Mobility experiment approaches the problem of urban parking through the sharing economy. Vehicle owners can use SYNC to activate and deactivate a physical parking space lock on one of tens of thousands of parking spaces. Once a driver has locked a parking space, they can also use the app to rent it out to other drivers for a share of parking fees, or authorise family and friends to use it.