Ford and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are jointly trialling a new system in the US designed to maximise the efficiency of vehicle fleets.
Using HP’s ‘Big Data’, the tech company and Ford engineers have been watching almost every move its employees make while using one of 100 test vehicles from HP’s fleet.
For example, HP found almost all of the employees using the 100 test vehicles preferred the same coffee stop while on the road, and almost all of them were purchasing the same brand of fuel.
Also, the company found several vehicles were sitting idle while parked at airports for days on end when they could have been used by employees nearby.
Trips were categorised into ‘city block driving’ (34 percent), freeway (21 percent), non-rush hour (29 percent) and rush hour (16 percent) journeys, and 70 percent of all journeys were 21km or less.
Ford and HP hope the data from the experiment can be used to better manage fleets of the future, to ensure car-sharing and bulk purchase opportunities (fuel and coffee, in this instance) aren’t being missed.
“The Fleet Insights experiment is one of the first steps to better understand and learn about how driving behaviour is changing,” Ford’s Marcy Klevorn said.
“Fleets could see operating costs lowered through national buying contracts and improved utilisation and maintenance, while individual drivers could receive coupons or create cooperative pools to share unused vehicles.”
Drivers could also access data from trips in company cars if needed via a smartphone app.
Ford and HP completed the data-gathering phase of the experiment this month, and will analyse the data over the coming months.