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caravan-051210A socially-networked cross-country road trip in a lime green Ford Fiesta is the culmination of the computer science course Cloud Computing in the Commute. Working with Ford engineers, students in the class designed apps for cars. The winning one went on tour May 14, 2010. The destination is Maker Faire, an ideas festival in San Mateo, Calif.

Follow American Journey 2.0, aka AJ the tweeting Fiesta as the students show off Caravan Track, which allows vehicles traveling together to stay in touch without cell phones.

Other app ideas from the class include a fuel tracking system that compares the current driver with others who have driven the route, a collaborative ride-sharing program that could connect drivers and potential car poolers through Facebook, and several on-the-go recommendation systems. Short videos (under 2 minutes) of the students explaining their projects are at MichiganEngineering's Facebook page.

The class was taught this winter in partnership with Ford Motor Company’s Research & Advanced Engineering department. Microsoft and Intel also collaborated. The class was taught by computer science and engineering associate professors Brian Noble and Jason Flinn. Students worked closely with Ford engineers on the safety aspects of these programs.

Article topics: Automotive Research


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