At the closing banquet of the SAE World Congress in Detroit today, Ford chairman Bill Ford announced some additional enhancements to its in-car information systems for the 2011 model year that have to do with teaching people how to drive in a more ecological manner. Coaching drivers to be more economical is nothing new for Ford. When the Fusion hybrid was launched in 2009, it included the SmartGauge system that includes an array of information to help drivers understand where their energy was going and encourage them to be more efficient.
The new MyFord Touch system debuting on the 2011 Edge and Lincoln MKX will incorporate some of this driver feedback into non-hybrid vehicles to guide them in the same way. The system will be further enhanced with a major update to the navigation system. For some time, navigation systems have included options to pick the shortest or fastest route or avoid toll roads or freeways. Ford systems (and some from other manufacturers) can also automatically re-route you around traffic jams.
The new Eco-routing option will automatically look at real-time and historic traffic data to determine what should be the most economical route. If a particular route is prone to backups at a particular time of day, the system will automatically send you down a path that is likely to consume less fuel. After the Edge and MKX, these systems will also be available on the 2012 Focus debuting early next year.
Update: Video added after the jump