Friday, 23 March 2012

 Microsoft and West Coast Customs are set to unveil the result of their unique, multi-month project this Sunday, March 25, on Discovery’s “Velocity” network. The car that the two companies worked on, officially dubbed “Project Detroit,” is a 400-horsepower 2012 Mustang retrofitted with a 1967 Mustang fastback replica body. It is, without a doubt, a great looking piece of four-wheeled machinery, but the real awe-factor is that this custom-built vehicle also incorporates every possible piece of Microsoft technology known to man, including Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Xbox, Kinect, and Bing.
Here’s a breakdown on some of the more noteworthy items that the show will highlight:
Windows phone integration
Using custom applications for Windows Phone, different tech elements can be altered with just the touch of a button or swipe of a finger.
Perhaps most notably, users can keep tabs on the car’s location even when it’s out of sight with a location app. Additional features allow the drive to unlock and start the car from their Windows Phone, too.
Built-in Wi-Fi
Included so as to ensure that the Mustang is always online and connected to Microsoft’s cloud services (next). Mustang includes a built-in 4G wireless network that supports a plethora of devices.
Cloud powered
The car can communicate with cloud services like Bing Maps and also store real-time telemetry data like speed, location, RPM, and fuel level in Windows Azure (teenage sons and daughters might think twice about asking to borrow this car for the night).
Digital Instrument Cluster
Drivers can actually choose the type of dashboard they’re looking at, with choices being a 1967 Mustang dashboard, 2012 Mustang dashboard, or Windows 8 Metro design.
The screen is touch-and-swipe, so toggling between selections is quick and easy.
Heads-up display
This is similar to what’s used in fighter jets: the windshield contains a driver side and passenger side heads-up display that highlights telemetry and Bing Maps information directly on the windshield.
Info that could pop-up ranges from directions to restaurants, shopping centers, and the location of nearby gas stations. Passengers have the additional option of playing Xbox on their side of the windshield without distracting the driver.
Ford SYNC
Program provides the driver with up-to-the minute traffic information, hands-free communication, and voice control applications.
Entertainment system
Includes an Xbox 360 and Kinect. When parked, the Mustang’s rear windshield can actuate up to act as a projector screen for playing movies or video games behind the car.
External audio system
This has the potential to be obnoxious: audio system can act as a public address system, which allows the driver to speak into his/her phone and have the audio played through the car’s external speakers.
System also allows users to customize their car horn with different “ringtones”, choosing what sounds plays when the horn is honked.
Kinect integration
Front and back Kinect cameras provide the driver with a live video feed of the surrounding area.
Car owners can also watch and listen to live audio and video stream on their Windows Phone, and send a message to the aforementioned external audio system.
Customizable rear windshield
While driving, the rear windshield can act as a customizable display system that can play video, show images, and display custom messages like “Excuse me, sir that’s tailgating me right now, could you please apply your brakes so that you’re traveling at a safer distance behind me,” or perhaps something a bit more to the point.
Microsoft initiated this project as a challenging and fun way to show what all of these technologies can do when put together in a single environment. The hope is that a project like this will inspire engineers and developers to start thinking of other innovative ways to blend these technologies together.
You can read more about Project Detroit at their website.
Don’t forget to watch the official unveiling of the car this Sunday at 9 p.m. on Discover’s “Velocity” network.

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