Ford Get Smart With Concept Car
- Cloud-based concept
- Heart rate monitoring seat
- Allergy-free interiors
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Ford will showcase its Evos – a concept car that entails a technology experience that claims to offer driver interaction and awareness that is currently under development in the Ford Research and Innovation laboratories.
Seamless connectivity between the vehicle and the driver’s ‘personal cloud’ of information is at the heart of the vision for its capabilities.
With information from the cloud, the vehicle can provide the same connected lifestyle the driver experiences at home or office. The car knows the driver, and automatically adapts handling, steering and engine.
Ford researchers are focusing their efforts in this area to deliver on four key customer benefits: personalisation, seamless enhancement of the driving experience, looking after the driver’s well-being and delivering smart electrified powertrain optimisation.
Drawing from a detailed understanding of the driver’s preferences and driving habits, the Ford Evos Concept combines this personal information with additional data from the cloud, such as the driver’s work schedule and local traffic or weather conditions. This information provides a personalised and seamless experience as the driver transitions in and out of the car.
It could automatically play the same music or news program that was just streaming at home, or heat or cool the interior to an ideal temperature before the driver gets in without having to be requested by predicting departure time based on his calendar. Wirelessly communicating with devices in the home, it could close the garage door and switch off the lights automatically as it pulls away.
Current technology requires vehicle chassis settings to be defined based upon the abilities and tastes of a cross-section of drivers and the topography of typical roads. The concept foresees tuning handling and performance to the road ahead and the specific individual behind the wheel.
Learning driver habits and capabilities, the technology can overlay map and weather data sourced from the cloud to adjust powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems for optimum enjoyment, comfort and safety. Because the vehicle is adaptive and honed to maximum performance based on the situation, it takes driving engagement to a new level.
Ford researchers have already developed technologies focused on driver wellness, such as the heart-rate monitoring seat and certified allergy-free interiors. With a seamless connection to the cloud, the Ford Evos Concept monitors the physical state and workload of the driver and adjusts the driving experience accordingly.
The car is also equipped with advanced air quality sensors and filtration systems to help allergy sufferers. Location aware, it can access air quality data from the cloud and proactively suggest a healthier route to the destination.
In dynamic driving situations, the vehicle may simplify the appearance of the instrument panel to display only necessary gauge information and switch the driver’s connected smartphone to “Do Not Disturb” mode to help keep the focus of attention on the road.
Completing the vision for the Ford Evos Concept is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
Ford ‘powersplit’ hybrid architecture allows the electric motor and petrol engine to work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Cloud connectivity would provide further opportunities to enhance performance and efficiency by selecting the optimum combination of powertrain modes for any given journey.
The cloud-optimised powertrain would automatically ‘know’ when to save energy and switch modes, using information about the vehicle’s predicted travel route, any emission zone restrictions during the journey and current weather conditions.
In the future, communities may place firm restrictions on the types of vehicles allowed to use certain roads or highway lanes, and some city centres may choose to be open only to full electric vehicles. Helping drivers comply with such regulations could therefore be among the benefits of this technology. For example, the French government is considering creating zones mandating lower emissions, while cities such as London, Berlin, and Stockholm already have them in place.
This capability would further enhance the performance of Ford’s advanced PHEV technology, which offers an overall driving range of more than 500 miles (800 kilometres) using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle.
The Ford Evos Concept was specifically developed to introduce the new Ford design direction. Key design elements will be applied to forthcoming Ford vehicles.
The new global design DNA provides the company’s worldwide design teams with a common framework to guide the creation of new products, enabling them to shape a coherent family of distinctive vehicles sharing the same fundamental design character.
To provide a fitting vehicle to introduce the new design language, the Ford Evos Concept was conceived as a dramatic fastback concept, combining a striking new profile with innovative proportions. Attention-grabbing lines conceal a unique new format, with a four-door, four-seat layout which combines dynamic appearance with surprising practicality.
With the length of a typical C-car, but with width of a CD-car, the Ford Evos Concept has a powerful, sporting stance. The forward position of the cowl, the strongly rounded front screen and the A-pillars set further to the rear enabled the designers to create the impression of a classic GT car, but with a very contemporary feel.
The concept’s spectacular hinged gullwing-style doors, both front and rear, provide outstanding access to the spacious four-seat cabin.
The concept car measures 4.50m (177in) long, 1.97m (77in) wide and 1.36m (53in) high, with a wheelbase of 2.74m (108in).