The Ford Motor Co. have recently opened the door for the open-source community to have a go at making alterations to Ford vehicles.
In a time where open-source is becoming popular, it has previously been seen as unthinkable for anyone out side of any automobile manufacturing company to be able to make any alterations to their vehicle designs, never mind allowing anyone to make changes!
Ford are now willing to give this a try and allow the open-source community to be able to make some changes they want to their Ford vehicles. This will be a first in the automotive world and is led by a Ford Motor Co. research team which includes Zachary Nelson.
Nelson is a recent MIT graduate and is now an engineer at Ford. He is part of the research team at the Research and Innovation Centre in Dearborn, Michigan, USA and has been inspirational in the move towards allowing the open-source community to contribute their own designs to the vehicles.
Over the years designers have altered stock images of the iconic Ford Mustang which include changing the cars bhp (brake horse power) to exterior alterations which includes colours and designs.
Nelson has created a prototype OpenXC shift knob which vibrates to signal gear changes. This uses Ford's OpenXC research platform and has been tested on the Mustang Shelby GT500.
Nelson said this of the OpenXC platform: "We designed the platform such that people can have real-time access to the vehicle data and they can do whatever they want with that data." They can, for example, fiddle with windshield wiper blades, change vehicle speed and engine RPM, and open or close the doors. You can even add hardware extensions. You can take vehicle data and integrate it with new hardware you bring into the vehicle."
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