CES 2010: Ford unveils Tweeting car
Ford, the US car giant, has unveiled the world’s first tweeting car.
By Rupert Neate, Las Vegas
Published: 7:00AM GMT 08 Jan 2010
Alan Mulally, Ford’s chief executive, said the company will produce a range of vehicles which can read motorist's twitter messages to them as they drive down the street.
Drivers may even be able to Tweet replies as the cars will feature voice recognition technology. But composing Tweets will not be possible on the first models, due out in the US later this year, because of safety fears.
Road safety group AAA warned that the new technology could put lives at risk. "The more things that are going on in a vehicle, the more things can distract a driver," a spokeswoman said. "You only have so much attention to give, and we really want everyone to keep their attention on the roadway for safety reasons."
However, Doug VanDagens, Ford's global director of connected services, said people currently read Twitter feeds while they are driving anyway, and the new system would increase road safety by enabling motorists to keep both hands on the wheel.
"We take what people do – they talk on the phone, they fumble with mp3 players, they look at maps. We take these activities and make them safer," he said.
The tweeter function is part of Ford’s plan to connect cars to the internet. Ford said drivers will also be able to stream music live from Panadora, a website similar to Last.fm.
The technology, developed in partnership with Microsoft, works by connecting an on-board computer to a mobile phone with 3G internet browsing capabilities.
In a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas said the technology, called Sync, is designed to allow drivers to attend to their social lives, "all while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel."