People & Careers
People & Careers

Ford Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge Is Now Open; OpenXC Workshops at TechShop Start This Week


  • Developers can submit entries for the Ford Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge starting today through July 24, 2013
  • Nondevelopers can also participate, submitting ideas for the apps they would like to see in the ideas competition, and by voting for the popular choice award
  • Mobile and Web-based apps that take advantage of vehicle data gathered through OpenXC to help drivers improve their personal fuel efficiency will be eligible for $50,000 in cash prizes including a $25,000 grand prize
  • The OpenXC developer workshop tour begins April 26 at TechShop Detroit in Allen Park, Mich.
DEARBORN, Mich., April 24, 2013 – Starting today mobile app developers who want to help drivers better understand how they use fuel can submit their OpenXC-based apps to the Ford Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge at http://ford.challengepost.com/. The challenge runs through July 24, 2013. Later this summer a panel of judges will evaluate the submissions and award $50,000 in cash prizes for the best apps, with $25,000 going to the overall winner.
 
The Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge was announced last month at the New York International Auto Show by Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln, with the goal of providing drivers with tools that show how they are using fuel and where they can save.
 
“We’re really excited to see just what consumers and developers come back to us with on sharing and understanding their own fuel economy performance,” said Farley. “The aim of the challenge is to empower drivers with the information they need to drive smarter and to find ways to share that information in order to help others understand what fuel economy they can expect in various driving situations.”
 
A recent survey of consumer attitudes conducted by Penn Schoen Berland for Ford affirms the increasing importance of fuel economy:
 
  • Half of all drivers measure their fuel economy every time they fill the tank or have the car serviced
  • Most consumers would change the way they drive if they knew it would significantly improve fuel economy: 79 percent would change acceleration, 68 percent would change their speed and 62 percent would choose a different route
  • Nearly three out of four drivers said they already make an effort to drive more efficiently
“We see the car as a platform on which others can create and build solutions tailored to individual needs,” said Venkatesh Prasad, Ford senior technical leader for open innovation. “OpenXC puts Ford at the leading edge of taking it to the next level by providing developers and drivers with easy access to the data they need to make smart decisions.”
 
Developers can use the open-source OpenXC hardware and software development kit to read a wide array of real-time vehicle data and pull these into either mobile or Web-based apps. The apps can then be used to inform drivers with coaching for more fuel efficient driving, route comparisons to help identify the most efficient path to a destination or help in finding available parking.
 
App submissions will be evaluated on three primary criteria – viability, user interface design and vehicle data.
 
  • Viability: Since the goal of the challenge is to help drivers better understand their personal fuel consumption, making the app as easy to use as possible is critical to success. Automated data capture and analysis that minimizes the need for driver self-reporting will make apps more viable
  • User interface: Whether on a smartphone or in a desktop browser, user interfaces that present tangible information the driver can actually use and act upon are preferable to basic data visualization
  • Vehicle data: Developers will get higher marks for innovative employment of vehicle data, including fusion of multiple data types into meaningful signals, that can help the driver use less fuel
The challenge is open to individuals, teams and organizations of up to 50 people. Larger organizations can also enter for the chance to get recognition awards, but those entries will not be eligible for cash prizes. The expert panel will consist of five to seven judges with members from inside and outside of Ford.
 
Developers must submit either a working Android app or a link to a Web app, along with screenshots and a video demonstrating the working app.
 
“We’re excited to see what hobbyists and software developers will create with Ford’s OpenXC API,” said Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost, the online platform powering the competition. “Running on a combination of the Arduino and Android platforms, OpenXC taps into an ever-growing community of creative hardware and software hackers and opens up thousands of possibilities for vehicle-aware apps.”
 
Anyone with an idea they would like to see implemented into an app can be a part of the challenge even if they can’t write a single line of code. Anyone can submit app ideas to http://Ideas.Ford.ChallengePost.com for a chance to win $100. All visitors to http://ford.challengepost.com/ can create a free account and vote for their favorite submissions. The entry that gets the most votes wins the popular choice award and $1,000 in cash.
 
Learn more about OpenXC at TechShop
Interested developers who want to learn more about OpenXC can attend a workshop during an upcoming tour Ford engineers will conduct at TechShop locations around the United States. The tour kicks off April 26-27 at TechShop Detroit in Allen Park, Mich. with Dave Evans, lead hardware engineer for OpenXC. There is a $35 fee for the workshop and it will be open to the public. Space is limited, so all interested developers should register early at http://tinyurl.com/OpenXC-Kickoff.
 
Developers can get help and assist others with projects through OpenXC Google Group or the official IRC channel at #openxc on Freenode (irc://irc.freenode.net). The OpenXC platform provides hardware and software developers limitless possibilities for interacting with real-time vehicle data in addition to improving fuel efficiency.
 
More details and challenge rules are available at http://ford.challengepost.com/.
 
# # #
 
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
 
About ChallengePost
ChallengePost brings software makers and organizations together for online challenges and in-person hackathons that build awareness, solve problems, and spur innovation. For more information: visit http://challengepost.com.