Ford studies how Africans use transport
FORD announced it is expanding its use of sensor technology to motorcycles, helping researchers and programmers better understand how cars, bikes and other modes of transportation together can create new mobility solutions and make people’s lives better — including improving healthcare in rural West Africa.
“OpenXC started as a project to make a car send a tweet five years ago, but has since become a platform, or an ‘ Internet of mobility’ that allows us to use data to better understand how people move around the world,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering.
“Now, the same open innovation mentality behind OpenXC has inspired our team to create a sensor kit for bicycles and motorcycles to learn how other transportation options might best serve people in urban, suburban and rural areas, including improving their health.”
Ford’s open- source hardware and software kit provides real- time access to vehicle data, such as sensors, GPS receiver and vehicle speed. Ford has been using OpenXC to support some of its Ford Smart Mobility experiments for more than a year.
The company is gathering and analysing vehicle data collected by OpenXC as part of Ford Smart Mobility, its plan to take connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics to the next level.
Fifty new sensor kits will be mounted to motorcycles early next year.
“Our goal is to understand what mobility means to people who don’t have access to their own vehicles,” said Arthur Zysk, Ford research analyst who leads the project. “Ford’s commitment to smart mobility innovation is driving real, measurable change.”
Longer- term lessons and applications from this project could be used to help ambulance and emergency services providers improve efficiency across the world, including in rural areas. — WR.
Ford’s OpenXC will learn from bike ambulances like this one in southern Sudan.