By Bert Barnes
Organizations around the world are harnessing big data to reveal patterns, trends, and associations that were once very difficult, if not impossible, to infer. This strategy is being used across various industries and sectors, with energy, agriculture, and retail being some of the most notable potential beneficiaries. Joining the ranks of companies employing big data-driven strategies, Ford has partnered with IBM to leverage the power of big data to improve the efficiency of transportation.
Ford’s Smart Mobility Experimentation Platform offers a glimpse of where automakers may divert increasing resources in coming years. The pilot platform allows scientists to look at portions of data as small as 10 or 15 seconds at a time to spot patterns, correlations, and trends, which they use to draw insights about human behavior and interaction. With these insights in mind, code can be written to make more efficient transportation decisions. Ford and IBM’s technology is similar to that used in the stock market, where masses of data are aggregated quickly to enable rapid transactions, and in energy provision, where data is used to monitor grids, identify opportunities for predictive maintenance, and deploy crews automatically.
It’s not difficult to imagine the transformative effects that widespread use of a platform like Ford and IBM’s could have on transportation. Less congestion on roads means less fuel utilized more efficiently, and with less idling. Predictive maintenance could result in fewer accidents and an improved emissions profile throughout the life of a vehicle. Big data-enabled travel advisories could mean real-time adjustments of mechanical and human systems towards more efficient and convenient forms of transit. In fact, Ford is already fostering the latter by deployment its Dynamic Shuttle service, which operates based on its Smart Mobility Experimentation Platform to serve its employees in Michigan. The service routes shuttle requests away from out-of-service vehicles to other transits, allowing another shuttle to redeploy to keep all riders on schedule.
With the automotive industry turning to big data for insights, it seems as if it is only a matter of time until transportation as we know it begins to change in significant, exciting ways.
For more information about Ford’s Smart Mobility Experimentation Platform, visit the news heading of Ford’s Media Center. For more information about how big data is advancing sustainability efforts across industries, check out the Knowledge@Wharton report from last spring’s Wharton IGEL conference.