In London and your battery or data ran out? Not to worry, Ford’s smart benches are there to help. There have recently been some solar powered trees in France launched as charging and WiFi stations and now Ford is getting in on the smart city charging station action as well.

It’s an interesting move considering they are primarily a U.S. based car manufacturer. However, they have partnered with a London-based start-up called Strawberry Electric for some local expertise to put in 20 smart benches that will work 24-hours a day offering free charging and WiFi to the public. One added benefit is that they can also monitor noise, carbon dioxide, humidity, and temperature. Plus, it will also invite people to make donations to a charity which Ford will match up to the value of £10,000 for each of the nominated charities.

Overall, it is a fairly complete, though relatively small, smart city project. It’s unclear how exactly the sensors will be used by Ford, but it does seem to be a bit of a real-world content marketing play – providing a lot of value to people at places where their main customers are driving by. There is certainly an element of innovation to it and hopefully, it inspires other companies to think outside of their niche market in developing smart city projects.

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