For a sneak peak at the future of vehicle technology, check out Rob Wray’s interview with Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas. In it, Mascarenas explains how Ford plans to deal with several of the increasingly complicated issues facing the industry. How will Ford promote the technological gains stemming from vehicle data collection without sacrificing consumer privacy? Will there be an opt-in feature for drivers, similar to the ones we see in the computer software world? Mascarenas also discusses how Ford intends to keep pace with the consumer electronic world as it relates to the driving experience. His open architecture strategy minimizes the amount of hardware installed in the vehicle, ensuring that consumer electronic development will still be able to interface with an aging car or truck. He even discusses already-developed functionality that allows drivers to control non-critical vehicle function with mobile devices.
Mascarenas also lays out his multi-pronged strategy to tackle the ever-contentious driver distraction issue, in which he argues that Ford has often pre-empted state-based regulation with voluntary or industry-wide standards. While Mascarenas believes that further federal regulation is and will be required, he emphasizes that Ford continues to minimize the amount of time required to make adjustments while driving, and voluntarily pushes for stricter company- and industry-wide driver distraction standards in order to provide the safest driving experience possible.
Finally, Mascarenas discusses the relationship between the commercial and consumer vehicle technology. Because he views Ford vehicles as tools for business owners, he believes that increased functionality will ultimately increase business productivity. On the other hand, the commercial vehicle world gives Ford the opportunity to develop new technology that will eventually end up in the consumer sector.