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Ford brings OpenXC to India

Posted: 17 Feb 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:car apps  test kits  open-source research platform  application developers 

Ford Motors has opened its research platform, OpenXC, to application developers. The first automobile company to do so is now shipping beta test kits of its open-source connectivity research platform to developers and universities around the world.

The car manufacturer is using OpenXC to engage local developers in order to accelerate market-specific in-car app development.

"Through the OpenXC research project, we are paving the way for new, local entrepreneurs and businesses, where the automobile, mobile phones and the Internet cloud come together in the creation of new experiences when behind the wheel," said Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Innovation. "OpenXC allows us to investigate what developers can do when we present the car in the same way as they see a smartphone software platform."

Commenting about the Indian market, he added, "India is such a unique and diverse marketplace that – as an automaker – it's almost impossible for us to keep pace with consumer trends. The OpenXC platform will allow us to harness the power of the consumer and encourage the development of innovative solutions to meet their needs, at their pace."

OpenXC includes an interface module based on the Arduino platform that allows developers to read data from the vehicle's internal communications network. The hardware module provides real-time access to parameters like the vehicle sensors, GPS receiver and vehicle speed that can be read by apps while keeping everything isolated from the vehicle control systems.

At Nasscom India Leadership Summit, Ford, also, demonstrated its first third-party mobile app created by HCL Technologies with the OpenXC toolkit.

The app would allow a driver to provide selected personal contacts with an automatic location update during that driver's travels. By monitoring location and speed information from the vehicle, the app can determine if the driver is running late for a meeting and then send an email or text message notification to other attendees without any input from the driver. The app can also notify the driver's family following a safe arrival after a road trip.

"With OpenXC, Ford is opening up access to the car," said Prasad. "By enabling local and independent developers to easily and quickly create apps using data provided by the car in combination with mobile connectivity and the power of the cloud, the possibilities are almost limitless."

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