Ford Aims To Connects Its Cars To Home IoT Devices

Ford engineers hope to eventually link the company's vehicles to other connected devices in drivers' homes, the company announced Tuesday.

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Ford engineers hope to eventually link the company's vehicles to other connected devices in drivers' homes, the company announced Tuesday.

The automaker indicated that it is working on integrating its SYNC system to Amazon.com’s voice recognition service Amazon Echo and home automation company Wink.

Amazon Echo would link to Ford vehicles through Alexa, Amazon's cloud-based voice command service, while Wink would harmonize many different connected devices and connect them to a car dashboard.

Those partnerships could allow drivers to adjust lights, thermostats and other systems connected to the Internet of Things from behind the wheel — or enable them to remotely lock or start their vehicles from inside their homes.

“Consumers increasingly want to stay connected to their homes while on the move,” said Don Butler, executive director of Ford Connected Vehicle and Services.

Ford officials also detailed plans to triple its fleet of autonomous Fusion Hybrid test vehicles at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show.

The company last month unveiled plans to test the self-driving sedans beginning this year; the latest announcement would increase the trial to about 30 vehicles in California, Arizona and Ford's native Michigan.

The latest autonomous vehicle platform will use sensors made by Velodyne that possess an expanded range to handle different driving scenarios. 

“Adding the latest generation of computers and sensors, including the smaller and more affordable Solid-State Hybrid Ultra PUCK Auto sensors, helps bring Ford ever closer to having a fully autonomous vehicle ready for production,” said Jim McBride, Ford's technical leader for autonomous vehicles.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said at CES that the company is about four years away from developing its own autonomous vehicle and boasted that — unlike the luxury models sold by Tesla Motors — it "won't be something just for luxury buyers."

"Ours will be for a broad group," Fields said, according to USA Today.

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