American Journey 2.0: Team Bobcat hits the road

Computers & Mobile Energy & Sustainability
American Journey 2.0: Team Bobcat hits the road

Follow the Team Bobcat Ford Fiesta caravan…

Come Along on American Journey 2.0

What do you get when you combine automobiles with location-aware computing? A winning team of students from the University of Michigan is hitting the road in a cross-country trip to find out!

In a class this spring entitled “Cloud Computing in the Commute,” six teams developed applications to run on the Ford SYNC platform, an in-car computer with always-on connectivity. The teams each developed social networking and transportation apps, such as a caravan tracking system, a ride sharing co-coordinator, and a location-aware performance tracker.

Producing apps on a desktop in a lab is one thing; testing them out on the open road is another. Not only is it a great ground test for the software, but it’s an exciting opportunity for the lucky team chosen to hit the road in one of two net-connected Fiesta test cars Ford is sending to Maker Faire Bay Area. One of the cars, dubbed AJtheFiesta, will itself be blogging and tweeting along the way, posting its changing “moods” via telemetric data (happy on the wide-open highway, sad in the rain or stuck in city traffic, etc.) and auto-uploading pictures during the trip.

This post begins a sponsored series covering the travels of AJtheFiesta and Team Bobcat, those winning software developers, as they take this 21st century journey. We’re following them as they leave their lab in Ann Arbor and head out cross-country, on their way to Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, Calif. We’ll be monitoring their progress in real time via Twitter (@AJtheFiesta), and touching base with them at stops along the way, such as Northwestern University in Chicago, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Stanford University, and finally, as they reach their final destination, Maker Faire, where Ford will be showcasing SYNC technologies.

We’ll post updates from Team Bobcat on the road, and we’ll keep the most up-to-date information on the American Journey 2.0 page on MAKE.

Let’s Meet Team Bobcat

john_ciccone.jpgJohn Ciccone
A 2010 graduate of the University of Michigan, Ciccone has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and will soon be moving to San Diego to join Qualcomm, a wireless telecommunications research and development company, as a software engineer. Ciccone currently resides in Shelby Township, Mich., where he likes to spend time doing web design, programming, and mobile application development.


collin_hockey.jpgCollin Hockey
Collin Hockey is a new University of Michigan graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. A native of South Lyon, Mich., Collin moonlights as a writer of ground operations software for a small student-designed satellite mission, the Radio Aurora Explorer. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and is looking forward to getting married this summer.


sangmi_park.jpgSangmi Park
Sangmi Park is studying for her master’s degree in human-computer interaction at the University of Michigan and has worked as an undergraduate researcher at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul, Korea, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her long-term goal is to design and build systems and support tools that can help people better interact with their electronic devices.


joe_phillips.jpgJoe Phillips
A recent graduate of the University of Michigan, Joe Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He works as a simulation designer and programmer at the university’s The Human-automation Interaction and Cognition (THInC) Lab. Joe grew up in Bay City, Mich.


You can follow the team’s exploits on Twitter and on Facebook.

And They’re Off!


The American Journey 2.0 caravan hits the road, heading out of Ann Arbor. AJtheFiesta can collect telemetric data (temperature, speed, windshield wiper activity, etc.) and blog and tweet its “mood” accordingly. One wonders what mood it’s in now with chilly temperatures and a threatening sky.

Good luck, Team Bobcat! We look forward to catching up with you, AJtheFiesta, and the rest of the crew on your next stop.

Next Time

Stay tuned for the next update, when we’ll introduce the team’s winning application, Caravan Track. Caravan Track allows a cluster of vehicles traveling together to track each other and to communicate along the way.

Follow the Team Bobcat Fiesta caravan…

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

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