Ford Introduces Open-Source Platform, OpenXC, So Developers Can Create Automotive Apps

Developments should promote innovation across variety of markets, automaker says

Want to let business associates know you're running late for a meeting, but can't take the time to compose an email while driving? Want to let family know you've arrived safely following a road trip?

There's an app that can do those things – without the driver even needing to think about it.

Pretty soon, there may be plenty of others that help motorists personalize their driving experiences. Ford recently announced that its open-source connectivity research platform, OpenXC, will be shipped to developers who can create apps for cars like they would for a smartphone.

Developed by Ford Research and Innovation along with New York City-based Bug Labs to harness the potential of local developers. Open XC allows developers real-time access to vehicle data and sensors, GPS receivers and vehicle speed while keeping it isolated from the vehicle control system.

Ford believes the open-source model will help it keep pace with innovations across a variety of markets, from mature ones like the U.S. to emerging ones in India, where geographic and cultural differences make it hard to pinpoint consumers' real-time needs.

"India is such a unique and diverse marketplace that – as an automaker – it's almost impossible for us to keep pace with consumer trends," said Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical director for Ford Research and Innovation. "With OpenXC, Ford is opening up access to the car. By enabling local and independent developers to easily and quickly create apps using data provided by the car in combination with mobile connectivity and the power of the cloud, the possibilities are almost limitless."

Ford has shipped the first toolkits to the University of Michigan, MIT and Stanford, as well as initial developer participants, including Weather Underground in the U.S. and HCL Technologies in India.

Share This Photo X