Thanks to Ford Motor Company for having me out to the Ford Trends Conference. I come back filled with awe and knowledge that keeps me in awe and wonder of our future.
Every time I attend a new Ford Trends I am really so blown away by the technology and advances that companies are making in the world of tech. When I was a kid there was just that dreamy idea of cars driving themselves in the movies, but most of us never thought that it could become a reality and according to Ford they will have it by 2021. They have given themselves 5 years to have autonomous vehicles on the road.
Where I on one hand I am completely amazed that there is the technology there to make it happen, on the other hand I am also scared at what it could bring about. Computers can be loaded with data and facts and so many things, but the one thing they can’t have is emotion and common sense. I see it even now with some of the adaptive cruise control and other warning features that cars have now. Those features almost go overboard sometimes on slowing to the point of crawling when someone on the freeway is being a slow poke. I have had a vehicle try to keep me in what it perceived as a lane while actually moving me into another one because of construction lines in the road. I had to fight the wheel to keep it where I knew it should be versus where the vehicle thought it should be.
With all these advances in technology, there also comes a point where I just want to turn it all off. I want to drive the vehicle the way I want to. I don’t want the speed the car does, I want to change lanes and sometimes weave in and out of traffic. What point is there to having autonomous vehicles? If you are anything like me, I want to be the one driving. You can’t take away the human experience and joy that comes with driving. Will autonomous vehicles really be able to account for the human factors when making decisions on how a vehicle should be driven and where it should go? I am not so sure about that.
Ford Trends: Tech Tank
One of the really fascinating sections of Ford Trends was the Tech Tank presentation. In that there were 3 groups that came up with new and innovative products that could be huge assets to our world. The biggest highlight was when Doug Martin introduced the On-The-Go H2O where water that your vehicle naturally gives off and captured it, filtered it, and turned into drinkable water right in the vehicle. He was able to take various parts that he got from the hardware store(and his kitchen!) and use those to create a way to capture water.
I could see this for use globally. It is not only a cool idea but one that could have a huge impact. There are many countries that struggle for usable drinking water, if there was a way that they could outfit their current vehicles with this device to capture water, filter it, and have it for use in their vehicle or take off and save for at home would be incredible. I definitely think that Ford and other companies should take this idea and make it usable for all vehicles.
Of course you can’t go to a car event without driving some cars! I don’t know if you saw my video (Here is the instagram link), but we got to take drifting hot laps in some serious Ford Focus RS vehicles. No I didn’t get to drive because lets face it I would have no idea how to do it, but we got to experience it first hand in the passenger seat. The mechanics of drifting is like an art form. It takes skill and precision to make it happen correctly whether on dry land or water as we did.
It is amazing where the automotive world is going. Ford is putting themselves as more than just an automotive company. They want to be a mobility leader. With things like FordPass that will have you interacting with your car straight from your smartphone, to autonomous vehicles, and so many more innovative products to hopefully make our world a better functioning place. It is an interesting and transitional world we are in right now and I am curious to see what is next!