In an interview at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto this week, CEO Mark Fields outlined to CNBC what he believes a car of the future might look like.
Interestingly – and perhaps because of where the interview took place – Mark Fields didn’t spend any time talking about propulsion or driving characteristics. Rather, he talked about high-tech features.
In January, Ford divulged that the company is looking at the possibility of incorporating Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice service in its automobiles. That sort of car-home connectivity might be a key component of future cars, according to Mark Fields, who described a future in which one could activate home appliances, lights, security systems, and garage doors from the vehicle, all using the Alexa voice service.
Additionally, technology in future cars could help overcome the difficulty of finding parking in crowded areas. “In most cities, 30 percent of the wasted fuel is people looking for spots,” Mark Fields told CNBC. “So how do we be part of the solution, this mobility solution for customers, make the world better and offer us a business opportunity?”
The answer is “smart parking,” for which Ford is already conducting a number of experiments. Using some combination of sensors, crowd-sourced data, and predictive algorithms, the car could theoretically find locations with a high probability of available parking spaces in difficult, densely-populated areas.