I get excited by mobile services/applications and the mixture of mobile and automobiles is one of the new frontiers of innovation.
Last Friday, I attended a Maker Faire pre-event on Ford's American Journey 2.0, an interesting project run at the University of Michigan. Dale Dougherty, founder of Maker Faire, was a fantastic host for the event - great to meet him!
TJ Giuli was managing student teams and presented a set of cloud-based applications developed by UMich students to run in Ford cars as they were driven from Detroit to Silicon Valley. (Good BusinessWeek interview with TJ here). These apps included virtual road rally (reading out information on pre-selected waypoints that the car is passing by), ride sharing, caravaning (sharing info such as spotting of police cars, needing to stop for restroom break etc. between cars) and car auto-tweeting (see @AJtheFiesta).
Here's the video of the event (overview of apps start at 5:30, panel starts at 17:00). I've listed the main themes/takeaways below the video.
Some of the themes that emerged in the panel included:
- integration of mobile device to the car for HMI integration as well as passing data back and forth
- impedance mismatch between development clockspeed of devices/mobile apps versus automobiles/embedded in-dash apps
- the car as a data source / data creator, including location, performance data, traffic conditions, fuel levels, etc. Integration with OBD II interface and car sensors.
- user interface homegenization between laptops, mobile devices and car dashboards i.e. the expectation of users that interface technologies (such as touchscreens, swiping, voice recognition, gesture recognition etc.) should work on mobile devices as well as in-dash digital screens
- the network of cars as a collective computing asset
- certified/gated app distribution into cars (e.g. in-car app stores)
- interaction of car with surrounding environment (e.g. intelligent parking infrastructure)
- innovation generated around standards in the car (standards such as the 12V plug, the OBD II interface, the auxiliary jack, the 1-DIN/2-DIN in-dash area etc.)