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Drawing from a detailed understanding of the driver’s preferences and driving habits, the FordEvos Concept combines this personal information with additional data from the cloud, such as the driver’s work schedule and local traffic or weather conditions. This information provides a personalized and seamless experience as the driver transitions in and out of the car.

“We’re researching how we can use patterns or preferences set by the driver to make life simpler,” said Mascarenas. “The car gets to know you and can act as a personal assistant to handle some of the usual routines of a daily commute.”

It could automatically play the same music or news program that was just streaming at home, or heat or cool the interior to an ideal temperature before the driver gets in without having to be requested by predicting departure time based on his calendar. Wirelessly communicating with devices in the home, it could close the garage door and switch off the lights automatically as it pulls away.

“This cloud-connected vision shows the enormous potential of tailoring the driving experience to suit the exact personal tastes and moods of the driver,” said Mascarenas. “From recommending a great driving road from friends on your social networks or resetting your alarm clock to let you sleep in when a morning meeting gets cancelled!”

FordEvos Concept explores adaptive vehicle technologies to redefine the driving experience.

Current technology requires vehicle chassis settings to be defined based upon the abilities and tastes of a cross-section of drivers and the topography of typical roads. The concept foresees tuning handling and performance to the road ahead and the specific individual behind the wheel.

Learning driver habits and capabilities, the technology can overlay map and weather data sourced from the cloud to adjust powertrain, steering, suspension and braking systems for optimum enjoyment, comfort and safety. Because the vehicle is adaptive and honed to maximum performance based on the situation, it takes driving engagement to a new level.

Ford researchers have already developed technologies focused on driver wellness, such as the heart-rate monitoring seat and certified allergy-free interiors. With a seamless connection to the cloud, the FordEvos Concept monitors the physical state and workload of the driver and adjusts the driving experience accordingly.

“Our wellness research and technologies are focused on relieving driver stress and enhancing their situational awareness,” said Mascarenas. “Drivers around the world are spending more time behind the wheel, and the car should not be another stress point in their lives.”

The FordEvos Concept is also equipped with advanced air quality sensors and filtration systems to help allergy sufferers. Location aware, it can access air quality data from the cloud and proactively suggest a healthier route to the destination.

In dynamic driving situations, the vehicle may simplify the appearance of the instrument panel to display only necessary gauge information and switch the driver’s connected smartphone to “Do Not Disturb” mode to help keep the focus of attention on the road.

Completing the vision for the FordEvos Concept is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain providing the same next-generation performance and fuel economy as the Ford C-MAX Energi scheduled for introduction in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.

Ford ‘powersplit’ hybrid architecture allows the electric motor and petrol engine to work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The advanced powertrain typically runs in all-electric mode before switching to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.

Cloud connectivity would provide further opportunities to enhance performance and efficiency by selecting the optimum combination of powertrain modes for any given journey.

“Access to historical driver behaviour and travel patterns allows us to calculate the optimal fuel and energy efficiency by predicting the destination,” said Mascarenas. “Our researchers are working to increase understanding of driver behaviour, develop accurate protocols to predict it and enhance the trip by providing the smartest use of fuel or battery for the situation.”

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