If you go back just ten years, you'd find a lot of the in-car tech that you've come to rely on is missing. The race to be at the forefront of this arena is a never-ending fight. Staying one step ahead means you have to look towards new sources of innovation, and that's exactly what Ford is doing by maintaining a R&D office in Palo Alto, California.
Ford has created an open source platform called Open XC. This platform allows developers to have access to tons of data, which otherwise gets discarded. Creative minds can find ways to use this data in new and meaningful manners that could provide serious benefits to drivers. Recently, a young developer created a gear shift lever that could buzz to tell a learning driver when to shift. Other ideas range from a pollen sensor to alert those with allergies to a Bluetooth-connected glucose monitor to alert a driver if his or her sugar level is off.
The automaker is leaning on the young, intelligent minds of Silicon Valley to help usher in a new era of automotive technology. With the Open XC platform, developers have a wealth of data in front of them. It's now their turn to figure out how to use that data to help drivers in new and inventive ways.