Escape room games have grown in popularity in recent years, pitting teams of players against the clock as they try to solve clues and escape from a locked room. Now, Ford has taken this concept and integrated it with the infotainment system of the Mustang Mach-E, with the game controlling elements of the car to create an interactive experience.
The spy-themed concept game takes players through a secret mission to deliver a package. Audio prompts for tasks are given over the vehicle’s speaker system, with the electric seats, hands-free tailgate, air-conditioning system and headlights among the elements that are either activated by the game or used by the player as a trigger at relevant points.
No features apart from the heaters and speakers are controlled if the car is in motion and, unlike escape room games, the players can exit the vehicle at any point, when safe to do so, without forfeiting the game. The game is installed on an iOS device that interfaces with the vehicle using Apple’s CarPlay and internally developed hardware and software.
“This is a bit of fun that has a serious side, as it shows just what could be possible with the technology we have in cars today,” explained Carsten Starke, technical expert interior materials and customer experience, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, at Ford of Europe. “Having the ability to create interaction between vehicle and driver could open up new ways to explore other possibilities in the future, like an interactive owner’s manual or even driver coaching.”
The game is purely a working concept at the moment, developed by Ford of Europe with input from its Software Enablement and Research team in the company’s Emerging Technology and Innovation group and the IoT group based in Palo Alto, California. It was developed to showcase how gaming could help people become more familiar with the functionalities of their vehicles.