Case Studies

Ford Electronic Vehicle Interface Finish Panels

The MyFord™ driver connect technology project began after Ford thoroughly reviewed the current interior design and limitations, considering new and emerging technologies available. After studying vehicle communications trends and the ways drivers were using technology inside their vehicles, it was evident that the current driver interaction with car and truck technology was rapidly becoming obsolete. Ford decided to pioneer the next-generation vehicle interface experience for customers around the world.

Modern vehicle interiors have come a long way in terms of comfort, fit-and-finish and safety, but they have had difficulty keeping up with the rapid growth of new infotainment technologies. Consumers are insisting on simpler interfaces even as they're demanding more in-car connectivity, more options and more information—a dilemma known as "simplexity." As the pace of advancement is expected to continue unabated, it poses a growing problem for drivers and engineers alike. MyFord addresses the infotainment explosion, launching vehicle interiors into the realm of popular personal electronics, such as laptop computers, mobile phones, digital cameras and MP3 players.

To help pioneer the next-generation vehicle experience, the MyFord systems, using TouchSensorTM technology, are launching on the 2011 Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, and Ford Explorer. The electronic finish panel on the 2011 Lincoln MKX demonstrates the advantages of touch-sensitive technology in a beautiful, engaging package. Activated features display amber light and when turned off, the signature Lincoln white lighting is used. Employing TouchCell™ technology, the car is virtually hands-free. The TouchCells create a tiny, undetectable electrical field that a finger, even a thin-gloved one, can break, causing the cell to go on or off like a traditional switch. This means there is no true button to push. Instead, a swipe of the finger does the job and an audible "beep" as well as illumination confirms activation. The TouchCells control items such as volume, radio seek, radio station tuning, CD track seek, defroster and air-conditioning. In addition to the usual audio and climate control features, the TouchCells also operate the volume and fan controls. Customers can swipe along the volume slider to increase or decrease the volume. There are ten distinct TouchCells within the slider and three full swipes bring the system to maximum volume. Customers also can touch anywhere along the slider to get a corresponding increase or decrease in volume. The fan control is operated in a similar fashion and, on both the volume control and the fan control, the distinctive Lincoln white lighting acts as a chaser.