Is there anything Google can’t do?
Apparently not. Already a tech giant on the internets, Google has been branching out to other spheres of late and is now scheming with Ford to reduce your commute times and increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
Google’s Prediction API uses Google’s famous algorithms to track your driving habits, pulling together information on where you go and then factoring in variables like weather and traffic, among others, to optimize your driving route. The vehicle will ask you questions like: “Are you going to work?” and if you say you are, it will optimize the route for your vehicle.
This may sound a little Big-Brotherish, and in implementing Google’s technology Ford has been careful to suggest that personal information security is priority number one. Hopefully they take privacy concerns more seriously than Facebook…which isn’t hard to do.
Security questions aside, I have to say I’m impressed by Ford’s commitment to tackling fuel efficiency from every possible angle, and partnering with a reputable American company like Google—one that sometimes seems like it can do no wrong—is a great idea. Lately I’ve been happy for American car companies in general, most of which have greatly improved their products over the past few years. It’s a welcome sight after a decade-plus dominated by foreign competitors. Nobody likes to see American companies struggle and American workers getting laid off.
It’s clear Ford intends to use the Prediction API on its all-electric lineup in the future to help reduce the “range anxiety” which remains such a bugaboo for EVs. This is smart marketing. Anything that warms the general public to the concept of EVs is a step in the right direction. Does this also mean that a self-driving Ford EV powered by Google isn’t far off?
I’m admittedly a little creeped out by the car talking to me, though. I’m fine with my GPS barking out instructions, but I don’t really want to have a conversation with it…