Focusing on Customers

Customers are the very heart of our business. So improving their experience is a large part of our mobility work. And it starts with learning more about how our customers use their cars in their daily lives.

One of our Ford Smart Mobility experiments, called Big Data Drive, works with Ford employee volunteers in Michigan. We’re capturing data produced from their vehicles to learn details about their driving behaviors and driving styles, as well as factors such as traffic and weather. The experiment takes the massive amount of data a vehicle produces – upwards of 25 gigabytes of information per hour – to help us understand how people move and see patterns that most customers can’t see themselves.

Last year in the Detroit area, for example, a major expressway completely shut down for six months of construction, disrupting some 140,000 drivers who normally take that route. Through Big Data Drive, we were able to map the data of our employee participants and see the implications of the closure so we could track congestion on surface streets by the hour and provide alternate driving routes.

How frequently customers use a car is another area of focus, with a set of experiments that look at more flexible usership experiences and the ecosystem of vehicle sharing. We’re exploring flexible mobility options around the world that go beyond just selling and leasing cars. Back in Michigan, hundreds of Ford employees are participating in our Car Swap Experiment, which allows employees to share and swap their vehicles using a mobile app.