Ford Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge Is Now Open

Posted by at 2:44 pm on April 30, 2013

If you are an app developer, Ford has a contest for you.   If can submit an app to aid drivers to better understand how they use fuel to the Ford Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge at http://ford.challengepost.com/.   The must be written toOpenXC-based specs. The challenge runs through July 24, 2013. Later this summer a panel of judges will evaluate the submissions and award $50,000 in cash prizes for the best apps, with $25,000 going to the overall winner.

Developers must submit either a working Android app or a link to a Web app, along with screenshots and a video demonstrating the working app

The Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge was announced last month at the New York International Auto Show by Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln, with the goal of providing drivers with tools that show how they are using fuel and where they can save.

 “We’re really excited to see just what consumers and developers come back to us with on sharing and understanding their own fuel economy performance,” said Farley. “The aim of the challenge is to empower drivers with the information they need to drive smarter and to find ways to share that information in order to help others understand what fuel economy they can expect in various driving situations.”

 

A recent survey of consumer attitudes conducted by Penn Schoen Berland for Ford affirms the increasing importance of fuel economy:

  • Half of all drivers measure their fuel economy every time they fill the tank or have the car serviced
  • Most consumers would change the way they drive if they knew it would significantly improve fuel economy: 79 percent would change acceleration, 68 percent would change their speed and 62 percent would choose a different route
  • Nearly three out of four drivers said they already make an effort to drive more efficiently

“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.

Developers can use the open-source OpenXC hardware and software development kit to read a wide array of real-time vehicle data and pull these into either mobile or Web-based apps. The apps can then be used to inform drivers with coaching for more fuel efficient driving, route comparisons to help identify the most efficient path to a destination or help in finding available parking.

App submissions will be evaluated on three primary criteria – viability, user interface design and vehicle data.

  • Viability: Since the goal of the challenge is to help drivers better understand their personal fuel consumption, making the app as easy to use as possible is critical to success. Automated data capture and analysis that minimizes the need for driver self-reporting will make apps more viable
  • User interface: Whether on a smartphone or in a desktop browser, user interfaces that present tangible information the driver can actually use and act upon are preferable to basic data visualization
  • Vehicle data: Developers will get higher marks for innovative employment of vehicle data, including fusion of multiple data types into meaningful signals, that can help the driver use less fuel

The challenge is open to individuals, teams and organizations of up to 50 people. Larger organizations can also enter for the chance to get recognition awards, but those entries will not be eligible for cash prizes. The expert panel will consist of five to seven judges with members from inside and outside of Ford.

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