Ford: An API to Your Car


I was expecting the announcement a lot sooner. I made some slides about a similar concept some months ago (I called it the iCar) and presented them to one of the largest car parts manufacturer. Unfortunately car manufacturers have been very slow in adopting new innovations. At least one car manufacturer has entered the 21st century. Ford has created OpenXC, an Open Source hardware and software solution to interact with your car. OpenCX = Arduino + Android + Car Interface. Developers will be able to use their Android to read information from the car. You can read the angle of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, location, accelerator pedal position, brake pedal position, engine speed, odo meter (distance travelled), fuel consumed, fuel level, head lamp status, high beam status, ignition status, parking brake status, transmission gear position, turn signal status, etc.

At the moment you are not able to interact with your car unfortunately. It would be good if OpenCX could offer real interaction. Think about the possibilities of:

1) Parental control apps – my teenage child will not be able to drive more than 120km on the highway and 50km in the city center and I can tell them not to go to certain neighbourhoods.

2) Personalization – my car adapts to me. If I am alone in the car the car radio blasts out hits from the 90s, the motor goes into sportive, inside temperature goes to 21, etc. If my family is present, children music, comfort driving, temperature 22.5, etc.

3) Predictive Maintenance – my car tells me that there is a problem, finds the garage that has the spare parts in stock and schedules an appointment based on my calendar’s availability.

These are just one of many ideas. The main thing is that entertainment, personalization and third-party services will get an enormous boost if open hardware, open software and creativity are allowed to enter your car…

Maarten is currently looking for new challenges as a senior executive, expert in value innovation and using cutting edge technologies to generate new revenues. Contact him at maarten at telruptive dot com.

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