Bikes help big car com­pany im­prove

Ford im­ple­ments plan for a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for driv­ers

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - — WR.

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Ford Mo­tor Com­pany last month an­nounced the next phase of its Ford Smart Mo­bil­ity plan — mov­ing from re­search to the start of im­ple­men­ta­tion, in­clud­ing new strate­gic ar­eas of fo­cus, new pi­lot pro­grams and new mo­bil­ity prod­uct ex­per­i­ments.

Ford Smart Mo­bil­ity is the com­pany’s plan to de­liver the next level in con­nec­tiv­ity, mo­bil­ity, au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and big data.

Ford in­tro­duced the plan in Jan­uary, along with 25 ex­per­i­ments aimed at bet­ter un­der­stand­ing con­sumers’ mo­bil­ity needs around the globe.

“My great-grand­fa­ther helped put the world on wheels so ev­ery­one could en­joy the ben­e­fits of mo­bil­ity,” said Ford ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son Bill Ford. “Our vi­sion to­day is to ex­pand that same think­ing us­ing ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and new busi­ness mod­els, and ad­dress­ing the mo­bil­ity chal­lenges peo­ple face around the world.”

Two key ar­eas

Fol­low­ing six months of gath­er­ing data and con­sumer in­sights, Ford is hon­ing in on two strate­gic ar­eas — flex­i­ble use and own­er­ship of ve­hi­cles, and mul­ti­modal ur­ban travel so­lu­tions.

“We now are mov­ing from ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to im­ple­men­ta­tion,” said Mark Fields, Ford pres­i­dent and CEO, speak­ing at the an­nual Fur­ther with Ford trends con­fer­ence in Palo Alto.

“We have learnt a lot in the past six months, and now are ready to put in­sights into ac­tion.

“Our goal is to make peo­ple’s lives bet­ter by help­ing them more easily nav­i­gate through their day, ad­dress so­ci­etal is­sues and, over time, change the way the world moves — just as Henry Ford did more than 100 years ago.”

Ped­dalling ben­e­fits

The re­search in­cluded how to use bi­cy­cles best in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments and in the process, Ford found cy­clists can help driv­ers.

Learn­ings in­clude that both con­sumers and cities can use data from bike sen­sors, and bike sen­sor data can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about traf­fic pat­terns, pedes­tri­ans and road con­di­tions that is dif­fi­cult to ob­tain from ve­hi­cle sen­sors.

In the fu­ture, this data may be com­bined with ve­hi­cle data to an­a­lyse road qual­ity, char­ac­terise mi­cro-cli­mates, or iden­tify traf­fic pat­terns through­out the day. For ex­am­ple, city plan­ners could use this in­for­ma­tion to cre­ate bike lanes. Bike riders could get in­sights on best routes or real-time

in­for­ma­tion on ar­eas to avoid.

Data-driven in­sur­ance

The big data gar­nered among oth­ers from cy­clists can cre­ate driver pro­files based on real be­hav­iour be­hind the wheel, which can be shared with in­sur­ance providers and rental car com­pa­nies for more per­son­alised, po­ten­tially dis­counted rates.

Ford’s re­search de­liv­ered sev­eral tac­tics for driver as­sist sys­tems that aim to help driv­ers help them­selves be­come bet­ter road users.

The in­sights in­clude:

• Peo­ple like re­ceiv­ing a score, as it al­lows them to track their progress and im­prove.

• Peo­ple don’t want to be told how to drive.

• Sys­tem works bet­ter if driv­ers see ben­e­fits of im­prov­ing driv­ing habits and are re­warded for chang­ing be­hav­iour.

PHOTO: FORD

As Ford’s Smart Mo­bil­ity shifts from re­search to im­ple­men­ta­tion; more Ford bi­cy­cles may ap­pear in city cen­tres.

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