Last week Ford Motor Company announced that it has been working with the University of Michigan to help with the research and development for the companies next generation of hybrid vehicles. 

Researchers from both Ford and U of M have been gathering data from thousands of roads trips in current Ford hybrid models.  The research is focusing on how to make the vehicle more fuel efficient.  The two groups hope to analyze data and determine how adjustments to the hybrid's electronic control systems can result  in additional real-world efficiency.

Ford and U of M conduct nearly 50,000 hybrid design simulations each week.  To date, the two groups have conducted more than 1 million simulations of various hybrid vehicle control systems.

Though the research aims to improve the efficiency of hybrid vehicles, Ford also notes that an end goal is to make driving the vehicles a more rewarding experience and more fun to drive.

Source:  Detroit Free Press (print edition)