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Car from 1984 Ford's launched OpenXC, a platform based on Bug Labs' open source Bug System, that's designed to allow developers to quickly prototype ideas and test ways of connecting the automaker's vehicles with new products and services. The idea was first discussed at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. At the time, Ford described OpenXC as "the ultimate sandbox to play in with minimal investment, where any and all ideas, concepts and theories for in-car connectivity can be shared, tested and verified." Now, the beta version of the hardware-software platform is being shipped to a select group of universities and app developers, including the University of Michigan, MIT and Stanford, the Weather Underground in the U.S. and India's HCL Technologies. OpenXC is Android-based and provides real-time access to a car's sensors and data, including GPS. Ford says developers should be able to port its libraries to another OS if they want. The hardware uses Arduino and will cost about $150. Though the actual source code of OpenXC isn't available yet, Ford promises it will be soon. Also, the company says it will regularly add developers to the program. If you're interested, sign up here. Photo: UFO Series