ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 3, 2009 ““ The Ford Transit Connect Family One concept vehicle combines high-technology features to keep children and parents organized and entertained with simple, clever touches that make family outings more fun.
“The Transit Connect Family One concept showcases futuristic technologies that can help keep busy, active families in the right place, at the right time, with the right stuff,” said Andrew Georgescu, product marketing manager. “Parents will appreciate Family One for helping them manage their busy lifestyles, while children consider the vehicle a place of their own.”
In a single day, the Family One can help busy parents by confirming that Timmy’s backpack and homework folder are on board, provide assurance that Josh’s child safety seat is properly installed and that the whole family can have a base camp ““ with shade ““ during soccer practice. Family One also can provide turn-by-turn directions to a new organic grocery store, coach drivers to maximize fuel economy and entertain a second-row passenger with cartoons while another passenger converts fractions to decimals in a Web-based homework application.
Family Works Connectivity
The Transit Connect Family One concept employs an innovative in-dash computer with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology designed to keep an active children and parents organized, on schedule and properly equipped. The concept vehicle uses Ford Work Solutionsâ„¢ technologyas a foundation for family applications for the not-too-distant future.
Ford WorkSolutions is an available collection of technologies and industry-first features that provide customers connectivity, flexibility and security to better run key aspects of their business ““ or their lives ““ from their Ford vehicle. It will be available in key Ford vehicles, starting this summer.
The concept’s forward-looking Family Works application uses predictive algorithms, based on learning from past usage, to remind parents of scheduled events and the equipment required for them. If the system is aware of a regularly scheduled band practice, for instance, it will simplify the process by notifying the driver if the needed musical instrument is not on board.
RFID tags can be affixed to any number of items such as backpacks, homework folders or sports equipment so time and fuel can be saved by avoiding unnecessary trips for forgotten items.
The system synchronizes with a smart phone to integrate with the parents’ digital lifestyle to help with hands-free calling, schedules, reminders and to-do lists, helping parents to be smarter and better prepared.
Safety and peace-of-mind for parents are enhanced, as the system wirelessly communicates with sensors in the child seat, assuring the driver that the unit is secured and the attaching tether is tensioned properly. According to the 2005 LATCH study, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 40 percent of child seats are improperly attached.
Family One features intuitively-operated navigation, which easily helps get families where they need to go. The SmartGaugeâ„¢ instrument cluster even will tell the driver how economically the vehicle is being driven, with an easily understood graphic interface.
Entertained and engaged young passengers are happy passengers, making life easier for parents. Second-row passengers in the Transit Connect Family One concept look up to see a transparent sunshade mounted on the bulkhead behind the driver’s area. The sunshade transforms to become a digital infotainment center featuring a pair of projected floating screens with high-resolution imaging and exceptional color contrast. The screens can display digital media entertainment, three-dimensional gaming, interactive educational opportunities and wireless Web connectivity.
The Transit Connect Family One concept also features a wide array of clever amenities to make family outings easier and more fun, including:
“¢ Twin folding scooters, mounted to the inside of the rear cargo doors
“¢ Integrated sunscreen and hand sanitizer dispensers
“¢ Whiteboard rear side-door interior surfaces for erasable water-marker creativity
“¢ Rechargeable family radio walkie-talkies
“¢ Backpack attachments and handy, integrated toy storage
“¢ Subfloor onboard storage for folding stroller
“¢ Protracting, roof-mounted awning offers shade over rear opening
“¢ Lava-lamp effect rear headliner graphics