May 14, 2021 report
Ford announces infotainment screens to show ads from local billboards
The Ford Motor Company has announced the passing of a patent for a new program that will draw information from the billboard ads surrounding the area where a Ford-manufactured car is driving and display segments of that data on the vehicle's infotainment display for the driver's viewing.
While annoying and even invasive to many owners of Ford vehicles, these advertisements can be a smart way to attract drivers to food offered at a nearby restaurant or apparel at a local clothing store. In fact, the company reports trying to solve the issue of billboards frequently not including information such as phone number, email or website URL for potential customers to get in contact and learn more about the advertised product or location. For this reason, the data shown on the infotainment display will emphasize segments with this data, so that drivers can more easily engage with and get something out of the surrounding ads.
Additionally, Ford could even collaborate with advertising agencies or those entities behind the billboards, helping this new system to train in what ad content looks like so that it can better recognize upcoming advertisements from new billboards by which a car drives. For example, a Ford vehicle could be driving past a McDonald's billboard showing a Big Mac, and the infotainment screen would give a driver the option to watch an ad about Burger King. However, down the line, viewers might not even have a choice whether the display port shows them the ad. While effective for letting drivers know what venues are in their area, imposed vehicle ads may pose a significant nuisance and even a source of privacy violation concerns for some Ford customers.
Still, just as the Amazon Kindle e-reader comes with a discount due to ads on the lockscreen, future Ford vehicles may come with a lofty discount, should the infotainment ads ever become non-optional. In other words, you may end up unfortunately needing to pay extra for a car that doesn't force ads into your face from every passing billboard.
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