We often baby our cars, personifying them with nicknames or talking about them as though they were a person.
But what if your vehicle determined its own mood - and then tweeted about it?
Introducing AJ, a 2011 Ford Fiesta. The automobile is a test bed for Ford's engineers, who are exploring the boundaries of possibilities when it comes to vehicles connected to the internet.
AJ enjoys tweeting, with a typical entry being, “It’s getting pretty dark; time to put the headlights on." And if there's no traffic, no rain, and a fun-to-follow winding road, AJ will let the world know it's feeling "joyful."
Software embedded into AJ taps into a wide spectrum of data within the car, according to an article in the New York Times: it tracks and analyzes GPS, speed, braking and acceleration, as well as steering input and windshield wiper activity - and correlating it all with live web data.
In theory, then, AJ’s software could combine, for example, real-time traffic notices (via the web) about congestion with its current physical situation (stop-and-go driving) and also weather forecasts (via web again), and then tweet: “Stuck in traffic; not looking forward to next 50 miles either.”
AJ isn't limited only to the little blue bird, though. The car has also been integrated with Foursquare, the renowned location-based app. all it unfair, but AJ can automatically check the driver in at restaurants and tourist spots along its driving route (not to mention send pictures with a built-in camera).
You may be saying at this point, "Okay, this is all very well and cool, but what's the point?"
Well, admittedly it's mostly for fun - an experiment to test what cars can do with internet connections. It also signals the future of automobiles, which will increasingly feature Wi-Fi capabilities and computer operating systems (AJ runs a Dell comp with Windows 7 in the trunk; theoretically most any car could become a social media app-fiend).
How would you feel if your car had more followers on Twitter than you?