Buczkowski says Ford has been addressing these issues. "Voice recognition is the top technology solution for keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel," he says. "People are having great experiences with these devices at home but they're using them in their cars, where they shouldn't be touching them. We're trying to offer a better, safer alternative through voice recognition."
Innovation is occurring behind the driver's interface as well. The plug-in hybrid engine system is migrating from Evos to Fusion; Buczkowski says it's in the research phase. "Fusion will be the first plug-in hybrid we've introduced. Its cloud-based engine optimization technology combines cloud data with driver history that predicts your driving behavior," he says. "So when you jump in the car in the morning, the cloud knows the route you take. It checks traffic, weather, and air pollutants and optimizes your electric hybrid powertrain for efficiency."
Many older navigation systems had road and point-of-information data stored on the vehicle containing the location of restaurants, gas stations, and other highway landmarks. This on-board data is quickly revised in the cloud. "That information is constantly being updated," says Buczkowski. "Access to the cloud is going to give that to you in real time. The Ford cloud solves big data problems with much more capability to process and store that information."