Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Further with Ford – 2015 Conference in San Francisco, California. When I received the invite I was totally stoked to be going and to also get a behind-the-scenes view of all the new technology and innovative happenings. A few months back I had the pleasure of traveling to Phoenix, AZ to take part in the Ford Edge Media Drive, but this conference was an entirely different ball game. Ford brought together hundreds of talented media writers and influencers to shed some light on their Smart Mobility plans for 2015. The conference was broken out into three parts: Trend Discussions, In the Labs and Behind the Wheel.
On the day of the Trend Discussions we headed to HP Labs’ Worldwide Headquarters in Palo Alto, to learn about Ford Tends for 2015 and beyond. The welcome speech by Meg Whitman, chairwoman, president, and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard was surreal! Many of you don’t know this, but I am a full time employee of HP (Software Analyst). I have attended several of her Town Halls via video, but to actually be in the same room with her during one of her messages was great! Additionally, learning about the future of sustainable cities, the automation effect and The ABCs Of XYZ was very informative and simply incredible. I was/am really intrigued by everything that I learned, but the one thing that fascinates me most is the autonomous vehicles. You may be asking yourself, “What are autonomous vehicles”? They are driver-less, self-driving, and robotic cars. There are really cool semi-autonomous vehicles already on the market. They come with features, such as: active park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping aid, blind spot monitoring and much more. However, to think that in the near future I could have “KITT” parked in my garage is mind-boggling to say the least. Per Raj Nair, Ford Group Vice President of Global Product Development, “During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup to help make our roads safer and continue to increase automated driving capability”. Wow!!!!
We also got a chance to meet and get the inside scoop on how Pashon Murray, Co-Founder of Detroit Dirt, Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit, Sophia Amoruso, Founder and Creative Director of Nasty Gal and Susan Paley, Beats by Dre, created awareness and built their thriving empires. I would kill for Reddit’s website stats! LOL! (172 Million UMV, 7.5 Billion Pageviews, 10# Website in USA)
On our last day, we got behind the wheel of a number of Ford’s latest vehicles to tour the streets of San Francisco. I have to say everyone was having a GREAT time connecting with old friends, meeting new friends, and learning about Ford’snew and amazingly innovative technology. However, when we reached Pier 27 that morning, things went from GREAT to EPIC. Just knowing we had the freedom to test drive their top of the line fleet, which included the all-new Mustang, Edge, Escape and Focus took this entire experience to a different level. It was simply extraordinary! During this time we visited several iconic destinations and took part in semi-autonomous technology demos. When we arrived I grabbed my partner, William Vega (The Other PTA), got behind the wheel of the Ford Edge; which I love, and hit the streets. Our first destination was Coit Tower. I have heard awesome things about this landmark but one thing I was not prepared for was the steep hilly street we drove up to get to our check in point. I was literally screaming as we made the drive. It was really exciting but SUPER SCARY and such an adrenaline rush! It felt like we were no longer traveling horizontal, but vertical! #OMG! I must say that the Edge didn’t miss a beat. It handled superbly, taking that hill like a champ! It was funny, because I could almost hear it saying, “Relax! I got this” LOL!
Next, we grabbed the F150 and headed to destination two, Marina Drive/Alcatraz. Did someone say Alcatraz? Yep! I think my eyes were as big as saucers when I saw it for the first time! Soon after reaching the check in point, a few of our fellow influencers arrived and we got a chance to take group pics! What an amazing experience! I must admit we did not want to return that F150, it drove like a dream and handled with such ease. You would not think that something so big and built for work would be such a smooth drive/ride. Our last destination has been on my bucket list for years; the Golden Gate Bridge. Time was closing in on us so we grabbed a new friend, hopped in the super cute and sassy focus and headed on our way. When we arrived we got out and started jumping around like 10 year old children. Having the opportunity to visit these iconic sites in an iconic brand is a dream come true!
This was a conference of a life time! The highlights for me were hearing Mike Fields, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford, speak with such passion about GoDrive, InfoCycle, and Data-driven insurance, learning about the autonomous vehicles, experiencing the labs up close and personal, connecting with fellow influencers, and hitting the streets of San Fran in all of those super-duper Ford vehicles. Ford you really no how to show a girl a good time! Each time we connect, I go on extraordinary adventures, and learn cool and innovative things that I am able to share with my readers! Thank you for selecting me for this amazing opportunity! YOU ROCK! HOPE TO SEE YOU AGAIN SOON!
OK Sassy Peeps! I have to ask! Are you ready for a self-driving car? Inquiring minds want to know!
Further With Ford – The Automation Effect (full show)