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Analytics permeates almost every aspect of sustainability at Ford, helping to chart paths to a cleaner, brighter, better world and a stronger business
The amount of available data is growing fast: Ford researchers have begun experimenting with vehicles that produce 250 gigabytes of data an hour. More information leads to further improvements in increasing fuel economy and reducing vehicle emissions
Ford considers big data and analytics the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity, with new opportunities emerging such as green routing, that allows consumers to optimize driving routes to minimize their impact on local air quality
Not too far from where factory workers assemble Ford cars and trucks, analytics experts in the company's Research and Innovation Center are building something entirely different but equally important: complex mathematical models to help Ford sharpen its competitive edge while limiting its environmental impact.
Launched 15 years ago as a small cadre of researchers, the group's size and impact on Ford has grown considerably while its mission is unchanged – chart a path for the company to a cleaner, brighter, better world and stronger business.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that Ford now ranks among the greenest brands in the world," said
John Viera, global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters. "The company's investments in the field of big data analytics have continually increased during the last 15 years."
Viera outlined Ford's use of analytics and big data as part of a panel discussion today at the 2013 Net Impact conference in
San Jose, Calif.
The group, comprised of scientists, mathematicians, computers modelers and other researchers, uses the latest in analytics and big data to discover ways to minimize Ford's environmental impact and bolster its bottom line by identifying potential risks and opportunities. Here are some examples of the work the group has accomplished:
Fuel economy: Developed a science-based model that projects CO 2 emissions generated by the fleet of vehicles on roads worldwide for the next 50 years, helping Ford set aggressive fuel economy targets yet remain eco-conscious
Power of choice: Used science and math to show that one particular form of alternative engine power is unlikely to emerge above all others, helping to make the case for a diversified portfolio of powertrains ranging from EcoBoost ® engines, hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies, flex-fuel, all-electric, biodiesel, CNG and LPG
New features: Created sophisticated mathematical models that optimize millions of possible vehicle combinations to give decision makers the tools to construct an eco-conscious and cost-effective global technology roadmap, resulting in green products such as Ford Auto Start-Stop
Customer value: Developed specific tools such as the Ford Fleet Purchase Planner, an analytical system that helps fleet customers match their vehicle choices to their needs while helping save money and the planet
Ford considers analytics and big data – in and out of vehicles – the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity. The company continues to expand its use of big data as more and better technologies, methodologies and datasets emerge.