Information Management, Your Car Is A Data Platform, What Can It Tell Us About You?
We’ve all heard about the Internet of things. We know you can use Nest to control your thermostat from your iPhone, so if you forgot to turn the heat down when you left for work you can do it from the office. And then there’s Jawbone that monitors your movement -- forget exercise, if you want to set it up to turn on your coffeemaker as soon as you start moving in the morning, it can do that too. And then there’s the app I’m waiting for: I want to be able to add money to a parking meter from a restaurant, so I don’t have to leave the table just as a conversation becomes engaging.

But what you haven’t heard of yet, because it is just being announced today, is Connected Car Dashboards, a collaborative effort between Ford (yes, the automobile manufacturer) and Splunk, a software platform for real-time operational intelligence, that turns your car into a data platform. And a platform, for anyone who may need a refresher, is something that you can build applications on.

Do Drivers Drive Gas and Electric Cars Differently?

The first project that the companies embarked on leveragedFord’sOpenXC research platform to gather data from connected vehicles. During the experiment, three Splunk employees hit the streets of San Francisco in a Ford Focus Electric vehicle and a gas-powered Ford Escape. The data gathered during the drives was then indexed, analyzed and visualized in Splunk Enterprise and made publicly available in the Connected Car Dashboards.

What kind of insights were gleaned from the data?

Learning Opportunities

According to Splunk these were the discoveries:

  • Analysis of the accelerator pedal position revealed that all drivers were more aggressive in the electric vehicle when starting from a stop.
  • Analysis of vehicle speed data revealed that all drivers reached their top speeds in the gas vehicle and that Splunk co-founder Erik Swan had the biggest lead foot, in both vehicles.
  • The steering wheel position revealed insights into each driver’s individual driving tendencies, including who turned most aggressively and where. OpenXC is the only open data platform for vehicles that can collect steering wheel data to include in analysis.
  • Correlating speed data, GPS data and speed limit data revealed that the best place for police to place a speed trap in San Francisco would be on 3rd street between 22nd and 23rd.

Internet of Things + Big Data + Analytics → Actionable Insights

Though at this point both Ford, through its Open XC platform, and Splunk, through its Splunk Enterprise Platform and Splunk4Good program are looking at projects like this as experiments, the implications of such activities might have over the long term are tremendous. What’s needed next is a big invitation to teams of researchers, enthusiasts and developers to discover and deliver a future that is not only better informed, but also enhances the safety, security and comfort in our lives.

Title image courtesy of Bocman1973 /