At the MWC 2016, Ford made a host of announcements exclusively for the European market, as an extension of its Ford smart mobility plan, which is building futuristic car technology for autonomous vehicles, connected cars, in-built vehicular systems and mobility enabled services.
During his keynote at the Mobile World Congress, Ford president and CEO Mark Fields launched a next-gen connected Kuga SUV with driver-assisted technology and an improved Sync 3. It is also piloting two new concepts in London, a predictive parking system, GoPark, and a car-sharing system called GoDrive, a new customer experience platform.
"As we look to the future, it is clear we are on the cusp of a revolution in mobility — from car sharing to autonomous driving to the customer experience," Fields said in a statement. He also said that the American automaker will triple engineering investment in driver assist technology, speeding the rollout of semi-automated systems that make it easier to park and drive in heavy traffic.
The major highlight of the keynote was the Kuga SUV with inbuilt Sync 3 — a voice activated command service that uses applications on a driver's smartphone. With other features like perpendicular parking technology, collision avoidance system, hands-free liftgate and all-wheel drive the powerful car is a near-autonomous vehicle.
Ford also introduced a customer loyalty programme, FordPass, for its European clients to provide continued assistance like FordGuid, FordHub, and more. It partnered with BP, McDonalds, 7-Eleven and Flinkster to provide these premium services to the customer. Ford will extend the FordHubs in other cities and countries like New York, Shanghai, and San Francisco.
"FordPass will offer 24-hour access to more than 4,000 cars country-wide. This includes Ford Carsharing's fleet of 190 vehicles, from Transit to Fiesta, and Flinkster's fleet of cars, most of which are Ford vehicles. The first hub will open later this year at New York's Westfield World Trade Center," noted the press statement.
Field added in his announcement that as part of its new GoPark pilot in London, Ford is working with a team of volunteers who are residents of the Borough of Islington, to provide live data for traffic and parking conditions from their vehicles. The pilot includes both Ford and non-Ford vehicles. The company is also trialling on-street parking on certain streets with GoDrive, the car-sharing project.