Ford optimises hybrid car efficiency with Google's help

Last week at Google I/O, Ford announced that it will use Google technology to predict driver behaviour and help it optimise settings for its future plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Last week at Google I/O, Ford announced that it will use Google technology to predict driver behaviour and help it optimise settings for its future plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Currently Google's Prediction API is used to detect spam, identify a language and match customers to products. Ford's research department will begin using the API on the data it has already collected on driver behaviour and use it to predict individual driver behaviour, like where a particular person might be heading to based on the time of day and starting location.

Should things work out as Ford hopes, the future may involve a driver hopping into his/her plug-in hybrid vehicle and opting into the predictive service that collects and learns that person's driving patterns, behaviours and routes. Once enough data has been collected, the following scenario could be played out every time the driver hops into their car:

Google Prediction API in a Ford hybrid
(Credit: Ford)

In this situation the car would know the driver's preferred route to work and optimise the car's electric and petrol engine usage to suit. For instance, plug-in electric vehicles currently preference electric-only mode up until the batteries begin to run low. But the Ford plug-in hybrid could conserve the electric motor's battery for sections of the route best suited to electric-only operation.

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