Ford and Bug Labs Develop Open Source Platform R&D
Ford and Bug Labs, an open source hardware and software provider, announce a joint development project to research, develop and distribute open source developer tools to facilitate in-car connectivity innovation
Known as “OpenXC,” research platform is based on Bug Labs’ open source Bug system and will enable the developer community to rapidly prototype ideas and test new affordable connectivity concepts that would increase Ford’s future products
At TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, the two companies will demonstrate innovative solutions based on OpenXC, including a social network in car fuel efficiency monitor connected to the Internet via the Bug Labs’ cloud-based service, bugs warm
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 12, 2011 – The Ford SYNC success provides millions of customers in-car connectivity, they crave, Ford and Bug Labs together explore the next frontier in how to make connectivity more accessible, affordable and personalized for the hundreds of millions of consumers expected to buy a car worldwide in 2020.
Today at TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, announced Ford and Bug Labs, an open source hardware and software that provides the tools and support needed to prototype, pilot and produce innovative networking devices, a joint development agreement to collaborate on a new car research platform named OpenXC.
Based on Bug Labs’ groundbreaking Bug System OpenXC transforms the car into a plug-and-play platform where interchangeable open source hardware and software modules can be quickly and easily adapted to perform tasks previously regarded as unthinkable by developers. With OpenXC, consumers can really create a personal driving experience by adding numerous add-ons. Innovations such as new visual and audio feedback interfaces, environmental sensors and safety equipment can be deployed quickly by pressing the Bug Labs hardware modules directly into Ford vehicles.
“OpenXC is about creating a platform that is completely accessible to developers and quickly incorporate local market needs to offer innovative solutions at an affordable price point,” said K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical manager, Infotronics, Ford Research and Innovation. “The platform is designed to help us answer the question of how Ford is accelerating the car connectivity experience around the world, with a value proposition for both mature and emerging markets.”
Peter Semmelhack, founder and CEO of Bug Labs, agrees that an open source platform approach as OpenXC offer up unlimited possibilities for adaptation in the car experience to meet the different needs around the world.
“Combining open, modular hardware and software innovation with the next generation of vehicles reinforces Ford’s position as the world’s automotive technology leader,” said Semmelhack. “We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Ford on such a groundbreaking project.”
Ford is the first automotive OEM to work with Bug Labs, a company that Semmelhack founded in 2006 as a way for individuals and businesses to break the traditional barriers associated with the new hardware developments. Since then, Bug Labs has helped developers and companies like Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T, Accenture, Pitney Bowes and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to imagine, design, test and implement innovative devices.
Ford researchers hope that lessons learned through OpenXC research project will help prepare the company for such a unique market position conditions around the world as different local languages ??and dialects, rapidly changing content preferences and the need for affordable “buy as you can” or even hire of some solutions. For Bug Labs, it means involvement in OpenXC a paradigm shift in the way that automotive companies are exploring new ways to meet consumer demands.
The possibility of automotive connectivity is enormous. According to IHS Automotive, potential future global vehicle sales reach nearly 110 million units annually by 2020, a nearly 30-one million jump from the global sales stand today. The biggest climber in the next nine years: Asia, with almost 20 million more units expected to be sold in 2020 compared to 2011.
Personal, local content
The vision for OpenXC is simple: the car becomes a docking station for Bug Labs interchangeable plug-and-play hardware and software modules programmed with only the connectivity features and services, the driver wishes. Functions change with the addition or deletion of modules that gives owners the freedom to continuously adapt their experience without breaking the bank, and at the same time create value for their vehicles as new technologies are introduced, bought and “set” in.
The idea was hatched during a trip Prasad went to India where he noticed that while most people could not yet afford a car they had to have affordable feature phones with great functionality. “Virtually all put phones rich in locally relevant features such as an LED flashlight and applications such as an astrological almanac – all for a price of about $ 40,” Prasad said. “So the challenge was how we can provide other convenient and affordable connectivity inside the car.”
“Imagine that you live in India, owns a Ford Figo and loves the game of cricket,” explained Prasad. “Now imagine that you could buy a $ 30 community cricket module from your local Ford dealer, designed by a local builder and approved by Ford. This module connects to a master control board in your car and your Figo would then play a community radio channel dedicated to cricket for the season. When the season is over, you can remove the module and replace it with something else. ”
OpenXC platform is designed to give Ford researchers and independent developers the ultimate sandbox to play in with minimal investment, any and all ideas, concepts and theories for in-car connectivity can be shared, tested and verified.
“Open innovation platforms provide societies worldwide the power to customize and personalize their products As an added benefit, it also frees manufacturers such as Ford, from investing in, building and installation of low-volume highly customized vehicles for specific markets. – While opens up opportunities for other manufacturers to create value-added products and services for Ford cars, “said Bug Labs’ Semmelhack.
While OpenXC platform shows great potential for Ford in new markets where a low-cost value connectivity solution is essential, the concept also gives Ford the freedom to explore other business models as well:
Distribution – The ability to sell or lease hardware and software modules through local distributors and / or other aftermarket distribution channels
Developer Resources – Creation of certified open innovation tool kits and SDKs for developers that make innovation, app development, payment and distribution more trouble
App Store – Launching an App Store model, where certified developers can offer their Ford-approved innovations to consumers who can buy them in a safe and fun environment
Ford and Bug Labs will demonstrate OpenXC research platform on TechCrunch burst in San Francisco on 12 September 2011. Using a Ford Fiesta as a demonstration vehicle, the two companies will showcase a prototype Fuel Economy Challenge program using Bug Labs’ Bug System and recently announced that cloud-based, data aggregation and application development platform, bugs warm.
The social network app fuel comprises a Bluetooth-enabled LED fuel efficiency display module in the car’s cockpit. When the power, App said windshield with a small digital display that indicates how fuel efficient someone is driving. bugs warm gives motorists and other remote viewers with real-time access to valuable information about performance on others involved in the Challenge, which provides instant feedback on who is running most efficiently.
“We have given support to millions of motorists with SYNC, but we know that one size does not fit all, and limiting ourselves to one connection model is not going to keep us going forward,” said Prasad. “OpenXC gives us the ultimate sandbox to play in where we can collaborate with technology innovators as Bug Labs, exchanging ideas with the crowd, and then test our theories together, so that the billions of drivers around the world start demanding more connectivity in the car, Ford will be best positioned to deliver it to them. ”
[ FORD MEDIA ]