Ford Announces $50K OpenXC App Challenge

Posted by at 12:20 am on March 28, 2013

OpenXC App ContestFord is launching a $50,000 contest for software developers to come up with innovative ways to help consumers better understand and improve their personal fuel efficiency. Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, announced the contest at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

“Consumers are looking for help when it comes to understanding their own fuel economy performance,” said Farley. “By connecting through technology already built into our cars, we have the capability to share information that will empower drivers to better understand, learn from and improve their personal fuel efficiency.”

There are a lot of elements that factor into personal fuel efficiency including weather, terrain, traffic conditions and individual driving styles. The goal of the developer challenge is to find ways to help drivers to optimize fuel efficiency during their time on the road. By mashing up real-time data provided by the car with the vast quantities of real-time and historical data available online developers can detect patterns and deliver products, services and experiences that are tailored to a market size of one.

Over the next several months, developers will have the opportunity to develop and submit software applications. Entries will be evaluated on criteria such as how the developers use vehicle data, design a consumer-friendly user interface and demonstrate product viability. Developers are encouraged to include the fusion of multiple data types, novel algorithms, and data aggregation techniques and interfaces that are tailored to assist users in changing their behavior.

More than 1,500 developers have registered to download the OpenXC software development kit since it became publicly available in January 2013. The OpenXC platform site includes some example projects built with the kit such as a customizable gauge, nighttime collision warning and a Bluetooth heads-up display. OpenXC is an open-source platform developed by Ford for research applications, and consists of a software and hardware development kit that enables access to a wide array of vehicle data that may be used as inputs to apps.

Using the on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port found on every new car built since 1996, OpenXC can read real-time sensor data such as mileage, longitude, latitude, throttle position, engine and vehicle speed, as well as calculated values including instantaneous and average fuel efficiency. Ford also provides OpenXC with access to additional nonstandard messages such as whether a vehicle’s windshield wipers are on or off.

“We see the car as a platform on which others can create and build solutions tailored to individual needs,” said Venkatesh Prasad, Ford senior technical leader for Open Innovation. “Vehicle personalization has been around since the dawn of the car, but OpenXC puts Ford at the leading edge of taking it to the next level,” he added.

Ford will award a total of $50,000 in prizes for the best submissions. More details about the Challenge are available at


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