Apps will soon be as prevalent for your car as they are for your smartphones, or at least that's what Ford is aiming for. The car maker's Research and Innovation team has joined forces with Bugs Lab to create a software and hardware platform called OpenXC that will allow third-party developers to create custom apps for cars. Today, they've released the beta dev kits for developers to start tinkering.
The toolkit is first being distributed to the University of Michigan, MIT and Stanford University along with other developers such as Weather Underground and India's HCL Technologies. It gives developers an interface module very similar to the Arduino platform and allows access to a vehicle's network of sensor data.
An in-car app has already been created using the toolkit by HCL Technologies, which allows drivers to automatically send location updates to a select group of contacts. The update is sent via either text message or email to notify the selected parties as to whether the driver would arrive on time based on his or her current location, speed, and traffic conditions.