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Ford’s GoDrive London-based car-sharing programme wasn’t the only thing announced by the automaker at CES Asia in Shanghai – the Blue Oval also highlighted a couple of Smart Mobility experiments and unveiled a MyEnergi Lifestyle pilot programme in China.

The two mobility-enhancing experiments are called Parking Spotter and Remote Repositioning, and evaluation of both programmes are currently underway in the US.

Parking Spotter, as its moniker suggests, makes finding a parking space a less stressful and time-consuming affair for motorists, accomplished through the use of crowd-sourced data and tech already available in vehicles. The experiment has the potential to reduce parking anxiety and increase parking efficiency, especially in dense urban areas.

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The project, developed together with the Georgia Institute of Technology, leverages existing sonar and radar technology already available on Ford vehicles, and uses collected data to map parking information on the go.

At speeds of less than 16 km/h, vehicles participating in the experiment act as roving probes and map open parking spots – this information is then uploaded to a cloud-based data centre which drivers can access if they’re looking for a place to park.

As for Remote Repositioning, that also works as suggested – a vehicle can be driven remotely from one location to another, for example, to re-park it. Ford says that the tech could be used to deliver an affordable and light-on-manpower valet service as well as find use in car-sharing programmes, where the tech can be used to reposition cars from where a driver left them to where a car needs to be for the next customer.

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The experiment currently utilises a golf cart owned by GT, which is again Ford’s partner on the experiment – the cart can be driven remotely, via a LTE streaming connection.

The MyEnergi Lifestyle pilot programme, meanwhile, is designed to address China’s energy needs and air quality concerns by showing how combining renewable energy sources, efficient home appliances and a plug-in vehicle can significantly reduce energy costs and carbon footprint.

The project, led by Ford in close partnership with Haier U+, Trina Solar and Delta Electronics, will begin with families in Beijing and Shanghai. Ford and the MyEnergi Lifestyle collaborators will outfit families with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, at-home solar power systems and efficient appliances in order to demonstrate the real world impact of energy saving products.


The programme will track participants’ energy use and carbon output in order to highlight the environmental and economic advantages of going green in such a manner. For the China project, the model predicts cumulative savings of up to 63% in energy costs for Chinese families, translating to a 40% and 69% drop in electric and fuel bills respectively.

This works out to a total of approximately RMB 9,400 (RM5,510) in annual savings, and CO2 output is set to be reduced as well, by 45% over a standard household. The Ford vehicle participating in the project is the Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid.

The automaker also showcased its new SYNC 3 infotainment system, which supercedes the relatively new SYNC 2 system – the new system, which boasts faster performance, more conversational voice commands, a more intuitive touchscreen and an easier-to-understand interface, will begin finding its way on to Ford models soon.