Ford sketches future mobility at Mobile World

March 02, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ford chairman William Clay Ford explained the company's vision of mobility in the future. His keynote speech titled "Blueprint for Mobility" highlighted the dovetail connection between automotive industry and telecommunications. At the event, the OEM also demonstrated its Sync infotainment platform which is about to be introduced into European markets.

In order to avoid a global traffic breakdown, mobility requires intelligent, networked solutions, Ford said. In this context, he a called for tight collaboration between automotive and telecommunications industries. "No enterprise and no industry branch alone can provide the answers to the mobility requirements of the future", he said. Telecommunications will take the decisive role in driving user acceptance for innovative solutions. "The telecommunications providers need to develop interdisciplinary systems to enable traffic systems in which the cars do not only intelligently communicate among each other but also with the traffic infrastructure". For this reason, Ford should regard cars as a "rolling smartphones" and as network node, he said.

In the mean term, significantly more powerful sensors and electronic controls will enable more interaction between the cars. This, in turn, will help to reduce the number of traffic fatalities. By the same token, they will enable semi-autonomous driving on highways including access roads as well as during lane changes. Vehicle-to-cloud-based navigation systems will help improve not only the fuel efficiency but also the time efficiency - future cars will make suggestions for alternative roads or even alternative transport means in the case of traffic congestion. One of the IT infrastructure measures towards this end will be an integrated mobility network. A central element of this network will be a data base to which all traffic participants will be logged in.

In the long term - beyond the year 2025 - inter-modal traffic networks will combine several mobility technologies to an embracing, resource-saving mobility solution. Cars will have an "autopilot" mode that enables them to reach their destinations automatically. Once they will be arrived, they autonomously will search an nearby parking lot - and as soon as they are used, they also return automatically to their drivers and pick them up.

At a more practical level, Ford Motor Company presented its Sync infotainment platform in Europe. In the US, the platform