Google and Ford have teamed up to create vehicles that increase fuel economy and reduce emissions. These cars can receive data in real time and predict driver behavior and probable destinations.
The tool is called Google Prediction API, and by understanding drivers habits, adjustments can be made that optimize a vehicle’s performance. The system is being designed for Ford’s next generation of plug-in hybrids.
The Prediction API can make smart apps even smarter. The API accesses Google’s machine learning algorithms to analyze your historic data and predict likely future outcomes. Using the Google Prediction API, you can build intelligence into your applications.
One application would enable car owners to define a “personal zone,” like a neighborhood or school, and the car would automatically switch to all-electric operation when crossing into that area. The API would also evaluate the overall trip to manage onboard energy and to ensure sufficient battery power was there when needed.
These cars could also automatically switch to pure electric power in low emissions zones being set up in some European cities. The collected data would employ cloud computing reducing the need for advanced computer power on the car itself.
“With Ford, we can move computational power out of the car and store it in the cloud,” Travis Green, a Google product manager for Prediction API, said. “Think of it this way: The biggest, most advanced computer could optimize everything, but your car doesn’t have the power or the space for it. With the cloud, your car has access to huge amounts of data, including traffic and weather information.”
Maximizing efficiency according to different driving habits is an important advancement in greener vehicles. Prediction API is still in the research phase, but we could see a production ready system in four to eight years.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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