“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”, the famous quote by Henry Ford. Nowadays, Ford uses big data to find out what their customers want and to develop better cars faster. Developing a product that requires 20.000 – 25.000 different parts to develop, big data seems to be the only way forward and Ford bets heavily on big data.
Ford actually opened a lab in Silicon Valley to improve its cars with big data. In order to progress their cars regarding fuel consumption, safety, quality and emissions, Ford gathers data from over four million cars with in-car sensors and remote application management software. All data is analysed in real-time giving engineers valuable information to notice and solve issues in real-time, know how the car responds in different road and weather conditions and any other forces that could affect the car.
Ford is also installing numerous sensors in their cars to monitor behaviour. They install over 74 sensors in cars including sonar, cameras, radar, accelerometers, temperature sensors and rain sensors. As a result, it Energi line of plug-in hybrid cars generate over 25 gigabytes of data every hour. This data is returned back to the factory for real-time analysis and returned to the driver via a mobile app. The cars in its testing facility even generate up to 250 gigabytes of data per hour from smart cameras and sensors.