Further with Ford: a water dispenser in the car might quench your thirst

Further with Ford: a water dispenser in the car might quench your thirst

    Sep 25, 2016 6:00 PM  PT
Further with Ford: a water dispenser in the car might quench your thirst
author: Anthony   

By Claire Pu

There are always surprises in Ford's annual event which is entitled"Further with Ford." It features ideas and gadgets for "future cars." This year, saving the most interesting items for the last, three engineers demonstrated three fancy ideas that they've been working on. These are an in-car water dispenser, a translation app and a hoverboard that can carry your luggage.

The water dispenser invention is called "On-the-go H2O"—quite eco, quite environmental friendly, and actually very simple in theory. The dispenser consists of a drinking water tap in the center console, and the water supply comes from the condensation of the vehicle's air conditioning system, which is a natural byproduct that is often wasted. To explain the prototype in detail, the water is first collected in a pan, then pumped through a tube, then into a filter for further cleaning, and finally comes out of the dispenser that's ready to drink. The water tap itself is nothing special, one could buy a similar one at Home Depot. And DIYers might also get inspiration from the project as it might not be that difficult to make.  However, this invention won't be installed in Ford cars anytime soon, it's just an eco idea that comes from Ford engineers who would like to provide a way saving water and get clean drinking water in some tough conditions where water resources are scarce.

"All that water going to waste should be recovered to serve a purpose," said Doug Martin, the engineer that designs the system. "The real vision is that this idea could eventually help people who don't have easy access to water, in remote locations such as the Australian Outback, for example. I'm trying to make my twin daughters proud, and make the world a better place for them."

Martin discovered that a car can produce 64 ounces of water per hour, the equivalent of nearly four water bottles. That means you don't need to stop at roadside to buy extra bottled water on a trip, thus creating less plastic waste along the way.


If a tourist travels on a foreign land, they would encounter conditions where communication becomes a huge issue. A Ford engineer once visited China and took a taxi, trying to get to his destination — he failed to communicate effectively with the Chinese driver to tell him where he wanted to go. Meanwhile, he didn't want to distract the driver with heavy traffic in front of them, so after returning to the US, he came up with an idea of in-car translation app. The app is called "Phone as Car"— equipped with a translation function that can read texts from a passenger and directly speak them through the Ford SYNC into the driver's language. Then the driver replies through SYNC again, and then the app translates what he said into texts that the passenger understands. As car-and-ride-sharing become more common, the app also features easy control over any vehicle that passenger is taking, including temperature control, radio settings and so on.

For Ford's Oleg Gusikhin, Omar Makke and Jeff Yeung, the challenge could be easily addressed from their experience working with Ford SYNC. "By rethinking mobile connectivity from the passenger's perspective, we saw how we can use smartphones to give riders control through SYNC without the need to be directly paired via Bluetooth," said Gusikhin.


Last but not least, is "The Geek's" favorite — the hoverboard. It's actually called "CARR-E" and it will gladly carry your cargo to your destination.  In the future, you won't have to drag your three luggage pieces all the way to the hotel entrance. CARR-E will just carry them all for you. It will move to the destination that you remotely set it to. It can travel 14 miles!

"Innovation is really important for me," said Kilian Vas, who collaborated with colleagues Daniel Hari and Dr. Uwe Wagner, and worked with designers from Ford of Europe and prototyping specialists from RWTH Aachen University to create Carr-E. "I was inspired by Ford's expansion into both an auto and a mobility company, as well as our founder Henry Ford's dedication to transforming transportation."

Vas has been innovating since coming to Ford three years ago. His first innovation at Ford is a head restraint that folds to allow space for a child seat and has foldable wings for napping, which was later patented.

The annual Further with Ford trend conference aims to provide an inside look at innovations and trends changing the way the world moves. And through August this year, 4500 Ford employees have submitted invention disclosures, in which nearly 1700 are first-time inventors, setting an annual record in 2016.