Ford is the First Automaker to Integrate In-Car Travel Recommendations From Mappo, Just in Time for Summer Road Trips

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【Summary】Ford Motor Co announced on Wednesday that it will integrate travel recommendations from startup Mappo directly in its vehicle navigation unit. Mappo is a Ford-backed startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel that developed a novel technology to extract quotes and locations from any books, movies and music in order to create an additional “story” layer on maps used for navigation.

Eric Walz    May 14, 2021 1:20 PM PT
Ford is the First Automaker to Integrate In-Car Travel Recommendations From Mappo, Just in Time for Summer Road Trips

Ford Motor Co announced on Wednesday that it's the first automaker to integrate travel recommendations from Mappo directly from the vehicle's navigation unit.

Mappo is a Ford-backed startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel that developed a novel technology to extract quotes and locations from any text, in order to create an additional "story" layer on a map. Mappo allows travelers to better explore cities by getting to know the cultural, historical and heritage sites that they are unaware of.

 While most maps apps simply provide turn-by-turn directions or business hours, Mappo's navigation app offers travel recommendations based on books, movies, music and more along a route. The points of interest (POIs) aren't just marked on a map, but are supported with content, such as the audio from a book passage about a particular location that plays through the vehicle's audio system.

The Mappo app also allows users to search for themed routes based on a place, the name of an author or book, or several other filters such as movies, music and history. Once a book is selected for example, the option to navigate to the location mentioned in the book can be done with a simple click from the Ford vehicle infotainment screen.

"Mappo developed a new way to consume culture-related content, in a way that is compatible with the most updated generation," said Deddi Zucker, Mappo founder and CEO. "Our vision is to create unique experiences in every destination."

Mappo's technology works by extracting location data from the text of books, movies, or music lyrics. The company says its technology selects only the most relevant and interesting quotes to share with people, which is used to create location-based content layers on a map. 

For example, drivers traveling south on California's famed Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco might stop for lunch at the popular tourist spot Cannery Row in the seaside town of Monterey. Author John Steinbeck famously depicted the hustle and bustle of this historic area in his famous novel Cannery Row, which was first published in 1945.

Using Mappo, drivers can listen to audio excerpts from classic books like Cannery Row to help them better get a sense of what it was like in the city 80 years ago and visit the locations that Steinbeck wrote about in his book.

Ocean View Avenue in Monterey where California's Central Coast seafood canning operations were once located was renamed "Cannery Row" in 1958 in honor of the book.

Mappo allows users to learn more about interesting locations like Cannery Row, as well as thousands of other popular destinations. Mappo also includes cultural info about movies that were filmed in city neighborhoods, or even specific locations mentioned in popular song lyrics.

Mappo also prompts users to upload stories from local writers that might be unknown to visitors.

"People love telling their friends about interesting places in books, movies and music, now they can share these passions with the world through Mappo," said Stuart Taylor, global director, Ford enterprise connectivity. "Mappo makes long drives or brief escapes richer experiences, whether people stay inside their vehicle or step out to experience a landmark."

Mappo's technology is powered by an innovative software engine, but also uses crowdsourced data, allowing other users to add notable locations to a map, so that others can learn more about them.

Mappo is launching in Ford vehicles 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 mapping service will be available for the all-new 2021 F-150, Mustang Mach-E, Bronco SUV and other future Ford vehicles, the automaker said. 

Included in the routes are historical locations in Philadelphia, or a walking tour through Central Park in New York City that highlights famous scenes from literature.

The convenient in-vehicle integration of the Mappo app in Ford vehicles makes the experience even easier. It supports voice-controlled use for customers as they drive so they can discover interesting new places.

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 also upload quotes from books, movies, letters and authors to mark local sites of cultural significance to share with other Mappo users. 

Mappo provides cities and their residents the opportunity to share curated routes and interesting sites within their city, similar to how Google Maps allows users to become "Local Guides" by providing tips and insider info of where they live to help visitors, such as suggesting a favorite restaurant.

Ford and Mappo worked closely to help ensure that the Mappo app in the vehicle syncs with a smartphone. Saved routes on a smartphone can be easily selected once the app is running inside the vehicle, which allows users to quickly pick up where they left off.

With the busy summer travel season coming up, Ford's partnership with Mappo might make road trips a bit more interesting and fun.

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