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Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas talks apps and self-driving cars at CES 2013

Paul Mascarenas CES 2013

Ten years ago, automakers didn't have CES on their minds, but it's a very different game today — there are more than half a dozen of them exhibiting here in 2013, a product of the smartphone revolution and an ever-growing list of computing systems embedded in modern cars. Ford has been here longer than just about anyone in the business, so we sat down with the man at the top of the company's tech scene, CTO Paul Mascarenas, to get an update.

Can Ford really turn AppLink into a standard?

Sync — the Microsoft-powered platform that underpins Ford's cars — has its share of flaws (ask some Ford owners about Sync's voice recognition system and you'll get a few expletives in response). That said, this show has been a fairly productive one for the company: it launched an SDK that lets virtually anyone write smartphone apps that connect to its AppLink-enabled cars; it nabbed new apps from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon Cloud Player, and others; and it open-sourced AppLink itself with the intention of turning it into an industry standard (he says that there are OEMs who've expressed interest in picking it up, though he wouldn't share who). And what does Paul think about the self-driving car theme we're seeing at the show? Have a look.

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