Ford Fiesta Starts Social Media Connected Trip

The research project launched by Ford and the University of Michigan in late 2009 concludes today with the first ever social media-connected road trip. Dubbed ‘American Journey 2.0’, the project will have two Ford Fiestas leaving the UM in Ann Arbor linked to each other ans serving as a platform for cloud computing.

"The car is the ultimate mobile device," Venkatesh Prasad, group and technical leader of the Infotronics team in Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, said in a release.

In one Fiesta, the Ford team will be using three experimental apps, known as Virtual Road Rally, "Auto"matic Blog and Local Search, developed on top of Ford's application development platform built on Windows 7 and Microsoft Robotics.

The second Fiesta will have students using Caravan Track, an app they developed as part of a course called Cloud Computing in the Commute.

"We believe this is the first time vehicles will be socially connected through the Internet during a cross-country trip," said Giuli, Ford research engineer. "All the apps – from Caravan Track to the Virtual Road Rally, and particularly the notion of the car automatically posting its mood and location – really explore new boundaries in the use of digital tools to expand social links."

The Caravan Track is a software that allows clusters of vehicles traveling together to track each other along the journey. After identifying a route on a main website, users of the Caravan Track can join to see fellow travelers; view vehicle telemetry including fuel level and speed; track each vehicle; map routes; send alerts about stops along the way; and send text notifications about road conditions and hazards via a multiple choice interface that eliminates the need to type.
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