American Journey: Social Networking Road Trip to Maker Faire
I remember trekking across the country in caravan in 1994. I was in the 1978 Ford Fairmont. The poor thing had a hard time in West Virginia, but we made it to our destination. The caravan was 6 cars, with 20 people going cross-country. I wish we would have had Twitter and other Social Networking tools back then. It would have made the trip more exciting.
Today, Ford has announced the American Journey 2.0. Two Ford Fiesta cars with customized applications will embark on what is called “American Journey 2.0”. They will drive from Detroit to California to the Maker Faire.
The Ford Cars, nicknamed “A.J.” and “UM” will house three applications: One will allow the car to tweet, just like the Mars Rover did during it’s trek. Follow it at @AJtheFiesta.
“We believe this is the first time vehicles will be socially connected through the Internet during a cross-country trip,” said TJ Giuli, Ford research engineer. “All the apps – from Caravan Track to the Virtual Road Rally, and particularly the notion of the car automatically posting its mood and location – really explore new boundaries in the use of digital tools to expand social links.”
The second Fiesta will be loaded with students who designed and developed an application called Caravan Track, which allows clusters of vehicles traveling together to track one another along the journey. The applications was developed as part of an advanced research project with Ford.
Ford engineers and students will take off from Dearborn and drive across the country, stopping at the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Colorado University, and Stanford University – concluding at the Maker Faire, Silicon Valley’s annual ideas festival on May 22.
Using the Virtual Road Rally application and implementing GPS, AJtheFiesta will update us on Twitter and Foursquare. The car will be able to identify the location and search for nearby restaurants, gas stations and parks. You might even see AJtheFiesta as Mayor of a place!
Teamwork has put this project together. The American Journey shows a new era for Ford – and the automobile itself. The Maker Faire is a appropriate destination, for they will be able to show off their hard work in these two cars.
I think I’d like to take that caravan across the country again…
Geekazine will be out at the Ford Campus May 20th to document the new applications within the Ford 2011 cars. Stay tuned for that report.