Ford stud­ies how Africans use trans­port

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

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