Ford Unveils In-Car Cloud Computing Apps by UM Students

Caravan TrackFuel TrackerGreenRide ChallengeListen.Speak.Rate.ShareNostraMap
American manufacturer Ford in collaboration with the students at the University of Michigan revealed today the future of in-car connectivity, which combines social networks, GPS and real-time vehicle data. The students developed the apps while taking part in the Cloud Computing in the Commute 12-week course, as part of Ford’s "American Journey 2.0" project.

The students explored and built applications based on access to Ford's developmental application platform built on Windows 7 and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, dubbed "Fiestaware." The software system combines vehicle performance data, networking services, voice recognition, social networking tools, as well as the Windows Azure cloud services platform.

After the courses ended, six teams of students presented their apps to a panel of judges from Ford, the University of Michigan and Microsoft. The winning application, called Caravan Track, will run on a Windows 7 PC in a Ford Fiesta research vehicle that will make a socially networked road trip from the university to Maker Faire, a do-it-yourself ideas festival in Silicon Valley, held in San Mateo, California, beginning May 22. The road trip will leave from Ann Arbor on May 14.

The Caravan Track is a software that allows clusters of vehicles traveling together to track each other along the journey. Team members include John Ciccone, Collin Hockey, Sang Park and Joe Phillips.

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.

Other apps that entered the competition included Fuel Tracker, The GreenRide Challenge, Listen.Speak.Rate.Share, NostraMap and Points-of-Interest.
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