Fleets Made Better as Ford and Hewlett-Packard Work Together

The staff at Bloomington Ford may have something new to offer companies looking for fleet vehicles. The engineers at Ford Motor Company have put their heads together with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to gather information that could streamline commutes, fleet management, and the driving experience of those driving fleet vehicles.  Essentially, using HP’s Big Data Discovery Experience Services and the HP Haven big data platform, the companies worked together to gather information for careful analysis. The result of the analysis hopefully will allow both companies to discover ways to lower operating costs and optimize underutilized vehicles.

What Coffee Do You Drink?

The experiment monitored the usage of Ford Fleet vehicles equipped with wireless sensors to explore patterns and details of fleet driver vehicle usage. Among the points discovered: an interesting fact is that no matter where they were located, drivers tended to stop for coffee at the same national coffeehouse and refueled using the same brand of gasoline. People are creatures of habit. But are each individual driver’s habits wrecking the efficiency of the fleet program? Are they driving well out of their way to get a certain brand of gas or coffee?

So how does knowing that a fleet driver stops for coffee help optimize fleets? Data analysis about the commutes being made, the routes taken, and the routines of drivers allows the Ford Motor Company to optimize vehicles for specific types of traveling. This could also lead to more integrated GPS options and route planning.  These aspects are also handy for fleet managers to best use the vehicles and drivers in the fleet effectively.

Analyzing Results

Besides the coffee and fuel observation, there were other factors analyzed in this project. The results include:

  • Traveling employees left fleet vehicles at the airport for several days. Those vehicles could be utilized by nearby drivers instead of having down time.
  • 70% of trips were on weekdays, and a typical trip was 13 miles or less.
  • 34% of driving was considered city block driving and involved frequent direction changes, idling at stoplights, and driving near the speed limit for short distances.
  • 21% of driving is classified as freeway driving with few direction changes, many variations in the speed limit depending on traffic, and longer trip durations and driving distances.
  • Non rush-hour driving accounted for 29% of trips, and consisted of short time and short distance driving, with fewer stops and less idling.
  • Rush-hour driving was clocked at 16%, and consisted of short time and short distance driving with frequent stops and idling.

indianapolis fordThe project is far from over. Although data collection was completed in June of 2015 with information from nearly 100 fleet vehicles, analysis will continue through the end of the year. At that time there may be changes instituted, not only in Ford vehicles, but also in fleet company management and planning. HP and Ford working together can only mean great things for the driving experience in future years. So, while you may not see a more efficient and technology integrated fleet vehicle at Bloomington Ford this year, you can be sure they are coming.