Ford Goes Back to School for the Next Great Idea

By Ford Social Member

Ford has a long tradition of working with universities around the world to foster innovation and help develop students. In fact, Ford Motor Company has invested $4 million in university research programs in 2009, including 16 safety projects.

“Collaboration with university partners is an essential part of delivering innovative ideas,” said Gerhard Schmidt, Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering.

Here are just a handful of the current cooperative projects that are creating future technologies for the automotive industry.

GPS Satellites and Accident Avoidance

Auburn University's GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory, directed by Dr. David Bevly, is investigating the use of combining GPS and inertial measurement units data to provide precise information on a vehicle's motion. The data could be used to improve performance of a vehicle's electronic stability control system.

The researchers have found potential for a GPS satellite to act as an early warning system that detects when a vehicle is about to lose control and communicate with the vehicle's stability control systems and other safety features to prevent a rollover or other serious accident.

The research findings were presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics in San Antonio, Texas.

A New App for SYNC®

Ford, University Detroit Mercy and California-based IDEO are sponsoring the UDM/Ford Innovation Contest. The intent of this challenge for University of Detroit Mercy students is to conceive a new application for SYNC®; to identify an unmet customer need and present a creative solution.

SYNC is a Bluetooth-based system developed by Ford and Microsoft that allows consumers to control their phones, their music and get directions, all by using the sound of their voice.

Contest participants were asked to develop and submit a 3-minute video presentation of a new SYNC application. The application could be a simulation and didn’t need to be a working application.

Automotive Telematics

A program with the University of Michigan recently began with students beta testing Ford prototype software platforms. The project is for a winter course on embedded automotive telematics. The course features small teams collaborating on the Ford developmental platform and building upon its connectivity capabilities – creating social networking interfaces, accessing cloud services and mobile network management.

Collaborating with universities and partners is the new blueprint for corporate research that will enable Ford to continue to build upon its leadership for in-car technology.
Electro 12/29/2009
He died and a lot of years have passed. Since Henry is out of the picture now, the question is whether or not your actions benefit you. Does the Ford Motor Company produce a car that would be good for you or not? If it does, who are you hurting by not buying it?
Tom Adamich 11/22/2009
Thanks, Beth, for your kind words regarding the use of the Ford script logo. I'm proud to say that C. Harold Wills, Henry Ford's chief engineer from 1903-1919 designed that logo - one of the most recognized in the world. Wills later went on to create his own line of unique vehicles (the Wills Sainte Claire - produced from 1921-1927) and is also credited with developing Anola steel in a joint venture with Chrysler in the 1930s (Anola steel is a high strength steel that can be produced cheaply and uses molybdenum - which has the sixth highest melting point of any element and readily available in the U.S.). In this case, the old tried and true "Ford blue oval" illustrates Ford's continued commitment to innovation and values Henry Ford championed back in 1903.

Tom Adamich
Wills Sainte Clare Auto Museum
Marysville, Mich.
mIlt 11/21/2009
As a child in the 1940's, heard my family say over and over Jew do not drive Fords. This is because of Henry's antisemetic statements and his funding antisemetic organizations. Even if Ford can make the best car in the world can it overcome the impression given by its founder to many people throughout the world?
beth west 11/19/2009
Ford already tried updating their logo. They went with a scripted version of ford motor compnay.
Then they realized that the ford blue oval was all that was needed for brand recognition and to show the world our mark of quality and excellence
Steve 11/18/2009
Its called regenerative braking. It is already used by toyota in the prius, and I beleive ford uses it in their hybrid vehicles.
cole 11/11/2009
You can submit ideas to Ford Motor Company at

Cole Quinnell
Editorial Director
Tony Chastain 11/10/2009
Who do I contact or talk to about an idea for a new way to power autos?
My idea is to use each wheel of the car to generate electricty to charge batterys that intern power the electric motor.
I would really like to talk to someone. Ford is my favorite auto manufacture, but I would talk to someone else.
Ginger Fox 11/10/2009
I own a Lexus and really didn't think I could afford to buy an American car because they have been nothing but mechanical problems in the past. But last year I heard a discussion on NPR about the Ford motor co. and how they really are building a better auto that competes with foreign auto makers, that it may take a generation to overcome the stigma of the American auto.

Obviously your building a better product that before I think you should bring your LOGO into the twenty-first century!
Do something like 4'd.or 4D, or anything but that dated signature your currently using. Change it! !
Ford Goes Back to School for the Next Great Idea
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