American Journey 2.0: Cruising to Stanford

Computers & Mobile Energy & Sustainability
American Journey 2.0: Cruising to Stanford

Follow the Team Bobcat Ford Fiesta caravan…

Cruising to Stanford


Team Bobcat members Collin, Joe, and Jon give a quick demonstration of the latest changes to Caravan Track, explaining their experiences from the road and speculating about future versions

This Thursday, the American Journey 2.0 team visited Stanford University, their final destination before heading to Maker Faire this weekend. While on campus, the team had an opportunity to take AJtheFiesta on a quick road rally around campus, and take in a talk by Human Computer Interaction professor Clifford Nass. I caught up with them at the Center for Automotive Research, the mechanical engineering department dedicated to designing next generation automotive systems and interfaces.

Team Bobcat has logged many miles with their Caravan Track application since I last met up with them at Northwestern University, and I was interested in what they’d learned about it over the course of the trip. Though their program worked admirably from the start, they were excited about all of the features that were possible, and spent a good portion of the trip coding in new features and tweaking the interface. One of the first things that they added was turn by turn directions. Though their existing map was great for keeping them informed about where everyone was, they found that adding turn by turn directions helped them to navigate complicated local streets once they reached a town.

The other thing they tweaked was the wording of the built-in messages. The messaging system connects the occupants of each vehicle by allowing them to send short, predefined messages to each other by selecting them from a menu. Normally, a user would only be able to send one such phrase, but they were able to send custom messages for testing or as pranks, by manually editing the database via their smart phones. Another trick they discovered was that they could rename each others cars by modifying the same database. Overall, they were extremely happy with the performance of Caravan Track, and count the whole experience as a huge success.

After a quick lunch and a some interviews, it was time for them to take the Fiestas in for some final detailing before their triumphant appearance at Maker Faire, so we had to part ways. We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to the Faire today, and thanks for taking us along on the ride!


Ford engineer Joseph Ross demonstrates the features of AJ and the Caravan Track application.

Follow the Team Bobcat Fiesta caravan…

American Journey 2.0: Team Bobcat hits the road
American Journey 2.0: A visit to Northwestern University
American Journey 2.0: AJtheFiesta takes Boulder

MAKE’s coverage of American Journey 2.0 is sponsored by SYNC®

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