updated 08:50 pm EDT, Tue May 10, 2011
Ford taps Google Prediction API for green trips
Ford on the evening of Google I/O's first day showed off a way to use the search engine's new Prediction API for better driving. Research from the car designer would measure a driver's behavior over time and calculate more efficient trips for the future. An electric or hybrid car could ask where the driver is going and optimize the route to make sure the car gets to its destination mostly or solely on electric power, Ford said in one example.
The method could also be applied to changes in conditions during the drive as well as changes to local laws. France and other countries are considering areas limited solely to electric-mode driving, and the Prediction API could recalculate as soon as new laws came into effect. Even on gas engine vehicles, Google's interface could be used to maximize fuel economy more precisely than usual GPS or look for routes that are easier to drive. Driver habits and style, such aggressive or timid driving, could be rolled into the calculation as well.
Privacy would be important, Ford said, and would have the driver profile encrypted to prevent a casual hack discovering the owner's location.
Ford is presenting its research at the Google I/O conference this week but didn't say how soon it thought the Prediction API could work its way into shipping cars. An implementation would most likely be woven into Ford's Sync system.