Ford has teamed up with Bug Labs, an open-source hardware and software provider, to explore ways to make in-car connectivity more available, personalized, and affordable than ever before. Announced at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, the in-car research platform, OpenXC, will allow consumers to add new electronic components to their Ford cars.
This plug-and-play platform will mimic Bug Labs’ current Bug product, which allows people to tack together multiple plastic modules, such as GPS and cameras, to create personalized electronic gadgets. OpenXC will allow developers to work on hardware and software for cars without needing to learn a new platform.
According to K. Venkatesh Prasad, a director in Ford’s Infotronics Research and Advanced Engineering Labs, “We’ve been experimenting with a an in-car fuel monitor, so you can see how green your driving is, but we’ve also added connectivity to the Internet so you can see how your fuel consumption compares to other drivers.”
Ford also plans to eventually offer this type of hardware for older models to allow people to purchase inexpensive hardware and download apps for their car.