Ford Uses Big Data to "Stay Green"

Ford's Fusion Hybrid has been a popular option with consumers. Photo Credit: Ford

Ford (NYSE: F  ) researchers are experimenting with vehicles that produce as much as 250 gigabytes of data per hour, which the company believes it can use to strengthen its business and reduce environmental impact. 

"There are so many amazing possibilities to consider for the future impact of data," said John Viera, global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters, in a press release touting the company's efforts to use Big Data to "stay green." "The possibilities are not only exciting, they are, in fact, almost endless," Viera said.

Ford launched its Research and Innovation Center 15 years ago; its team is comprised of scientists, mathematicians, computers modelers, and other researchers. The group uses the latest in analytics to identify potential risks and opportunities to minimize Ford's environment impact, as well as improve its profitability.

Here are some examples of the center's research, in Ford's words:

  • Developed a ... model that projects carbon dioxide 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.
  • ... [S]howed 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 power trains encompassing EcoBoost engines, hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies, flex-fuel, all-electric, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, and liquid petroleum gas.
  • Developed specific tools such as the Ford Fleet Purchase Planner, an analytical system that helps fleet customers match their vehicle choices to their needs ... .

linkFord says the plug-in hybrid Ford Fusion Energi generates about 25 gigabytes of data every hour and that it is experimenting with vehicles that generate 10 times that much data. It also highlighted the potential to use all that data for something like choosing "green" routes that would reduce a vehicle's impact on air quality in specific areas, such as near a hospital or in a high-density residential area. It also sees potential to use data to "provide insight into consumer acceptance of electric vehicles and the electrification of personal transportation."

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