Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn is adding Mappo, an app that includes themed driving routes and other content, to its vehicles as a way to “enrich people’s car rides and road trips.”
Mappo, developed by a startup in Israel that won awards in the 2018 Ford “MakeItDriveable” competition, is a new way to explore the world through the lens of history, popular culture, architecture, sports, and more — all supported by audio content from literary icons, historians, authors, musicians, and others.
“People love telling their friends about interesting places in books, movies, and music — now they can share these passions with the world through Mappo,” says Stuart Taylor, global director of enterprise connectivity at Ford. “Mappo makes long drives or brief escapes richer experiences, whether people stay inside their vehicle or step out to experience a landmark.”
After supporting development of the app, Ford is the first automaker to offer its customers an in-vehicle Mappo experience. Customers who have vehicles equipped with SYNC 3 or SYNC 4 technology will be able to use Mappo through voice commands, giving them an easy way to experience the app as they travel. Mappo also will be available for the all-new 2021 F-150, Mustang Mach-E, Bronco SUV, and other future Ford vehicles.
While many mapping apps relay a park location or the hours of a restaurant, Mappo offers people a different look at the world around them, according to Ford. Mappo lets travelers explore cities by getting to know the cultural, historical, and heritage sites. Points of interest aren’t just marked on a map, but are supported with content such as quotes, book clips, and trivia.
Mappo launches with more than 30,000 point-of-interest cultural references across more than a dozen major cities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The app allows users to browse points of interest nearby, or use the search box to look up themed routes based on a place, the name of an author or book, or several other filters such as movies, music, and history.
“Mappo developed a new way to consume culture-related content, in a way that is compatible with the most updated generation,” says Deddi Zucker, founder and CEO of Mappo. “Our vision is to create unique experiences in every destination.”
While Mappo is regularly adding points of interest to cities around the world, it also allows people to highlight locations in places the app hasn’t directly supported yet. When noting a point of interest, users can upload quotes from books, movies, letters, and authors to mark local sites — giving cities and their residents everywhere the chance to provide locals and visitors with curated routes to follow that explore their heritage and legacy.
Ford in-vehicle integration makes the experience even easier, according to the automaker. Led by the Ford connected vehicle platform and products team in Germany, in-vehicle integration enables seamless, voice-controlled use for customers as they drive, whether they’re looking to discover interesting new places or trying to shed light on underrated aspects of their own neighborhood.
Vehicles equipped with optional navigation technology can use SYNC AppLink for the capability of creating routes to the points of interest found in the Mappo app.
Ford and Mappo worked to help ensure that taking a journey in and out of a Ford vehicle is easy as well. Any saved route on a user’s smartphone can be selected once running the app inside the vehicle, and can quickly pick up where they left off — whether leaving a vehicle to explore or coming back to continue to the next destination.
The Ford-Mappo partnership is credited to the Ford Research Center in Israel that opened in 2019 in the heart of Tel Aviv’s technology community.
The center serves as a research hub augmenting the global research and advanced engineering team at Ford. It also supports the company’s automotive and mobility businesses by identifying technologies and startups in the fields of connectivity, sensors, automated systems research, in-vehicle monitoring, and cybersecurity.
“Through the strong presence of the Ford Research Center in Israel, we have been working with local companies and partners in Israel’s tech community to advance innovations and push our research and engineering efforts forward,” says Boaz Hartal, technical director of the Ford Research Center in Israel.