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Here’s how Ford is using connected car data

The Shelby GT350 Mustang in Oxford White with a Sonic Blue stripe.The Shelby GT350 Mustang in Oxford White with a Sonic Blue stripe.
The Shelby GT350 Mustang in Oxford White with a Sonic Blue stripe.Photo: Courtesy Ford Motor Co.

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① Tele(matic)-commute

Through a project called Big Data Drive, Ford (F) monitors the routes employees use to drive to work and tracks how long it takes them to do so. Ford hopes this can help it provide better real-time route optimization for navigation systems and fleet vehicles, as well as more accurate predictions of how street closures and other incidents will affect traffic on nearby roads.

② Make safe driving pay

Quantified driving behavior could lead to more accurate insurance premiums. Ford believes that connected car data could reduce rates for safe drivers and help rental companies offer them discounts.

③ Pump (up) the brakes

Another Ford pilot program analyzes 25 signals from brake systems—how hard drivers push them, at what speed, and the conditions under which they’re applied—to better predict failure.

④ Clearing the air (and streets)

Ford is exploring electric bikes and urban route planning. It believes that bicycle sensors can collect more detailed data about pedestrians, traffic, and road conditions than cars can. Combined with other data it collects, the information could help improve traffic flow and therefore reduce climate impacts.

⑤ A car in every spot

Ford is collecting parking-behavior data, among other types, from the sensor-equipped cars of 650 employee volunteers to better inform its ride-sharing pilots in cities around the world.


For more on connected cars, watch this Fortune video:


A version of this article appears in the October 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine with the headline “How Ford quantifies its future.“