Caravan Track wins Ford Apps competition

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Ford Fiesta

A Ford Fiesta will be outfitted with Caravan Track and other experimental tools to head to the Maker Faire. Image from Flickr.

In October of 2009, Ford Motor Company, the University of Michigan and Intel created American Journey 2.0 – a competition to create Ford Apps. Journey 2.0 spawned “Cloud Computing in the Commute” a class and competition between students to create a new social-networking application for use in Ford research vehicles. Caravan Track, the winner of the competition, will be used in the Ford Fiesta research vehicle heading to the Maker Faire in California.

Caravan Track

The winner of the “Cloud Computing in the Commute” course and competition is an application called Caravan Track. This application is built to allow clusters of vehicles making a trip together to keep track of one another. Caravan Track monitors the position, fuel level, road hazards and more of all vehicles on a trip together. Caravan Track will also inform the entire caravan of restaurants, rest areas and other stop-over points of interest. Touchscreen messages eliminate the need to type while on the road.

Five other Ford App Competition entries

There were six teams in the class that created the Ford Apps for The American Journey 2.0. While Caravan Track won, the other applications still have the potential to be very useful. The GreenRide Challenge uses Facebook to match drivers and potential carpool passengers. NostraMap gives drivers advance notice of road hazards such as construction or accidents. Fuel Tracker gives real-time feedback on fuel economy and mileage for a specific route. Point-of-Interest is built to “learn” a driver’s interests over time, and recommend businesses and locations that the driver might find interesting. “Listen. Speak. Rate. Share.” is an app built to provide and share audio reviews for points of interest along a driver’s route.

Ford Fiesta with Caravan Track

Along with other experimental and research projects, Caravan Track will be loaded onto a Ford Fiesta headed for Silicon Valley. On May 14, this “research Fiesta” will be starting a road trip to the annual Maker Faire and will attempt to social network the entire trip. Students at the University of Michigan who took the “Cloud Computing in the Commute” class are sure to keep a close eye on the trip.


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