Originally posted on Gigaom:
When most people think about how cars are built, they probably think about assembly lines, manufacturing robots, and batteries of safety and performance simulations on massive supercomputers. But at Ford, big data is having a significant impact on the parts and features of those cars before they’re ever part of a design file. From the cars in stock at the dealership to the performance of the engine in a rainstorm, big data is infiltrating nearly every aspect of the Ford experience and the company itself.
Obviously, data is nothing new to the automotive industry — companies have been trying to optimize supply chains and analyze sales numbers for decades — but the advent of big data, as well as related technlogies such as sensors and smartphones, is changing how companies are thinking about data. Ford isn’t alone in its quest to take advantage of these new technologies, either. For example, General Motors collects data from its OnStar system to help lower drivers’ insurance premiums, and also collects lots of data on its Chevrolet Volt electric car that it feeds to drivers via a mobile app. We recently noted how a luxury automobile company used big data software from Aster Data Systems to determine the relationships between malfunctions so it could provide a more thorough and beneficial service-department experience.
But in an industry notoriously unwilling to talk about information technology, Ford’s experiences might shed a lot on what other companies are thinking and doing, as well.