Launched through its Ford Commercial Solutions business unit, Ford said today it will use its open-platform cloud to enable access to "OEM-grade" vehicle data and also has added Geotab and Spireon as telematics provider partners. That's in addition to Ford's existing telematics relationship with Verizon Connect.
Ford Commercial Solutions—which Ford created to help fleets make the most of the connectivity it has committed to building into all of its vehicles—is introducing two new Data Services products designed to help fleets easily access useful information such as fuel use and vehicle health alerts.
Behind the products is Ford Commercial Solutions' Transportation Mobility Cloud, which is an open platform that manages information flow securely to and from Ford vehicles' embedded modems. The cloud platform was built and is operated by Autonomic, LLC, which Ford recently acquired; it's designed to connect vehicles, drivers, passengers and cities with software applications.
"OEM grade" vehicle data—that's data verified by Ford engineers — is transferred directly from the vehicle to the cloud, without the need for additional third-party hardware, management, or installation downtime, Ford said. The vehicle data can be relayed to a fleet's internal IT system or telematics service provider through an application program interface.
Because Ford designed the vehicles—including the electrical architecture, data systems and vehicle technology—the company noted it can provide "the newest updates and vehicle signals" as soon as they're available.
"Our goal is to unlock the data from [fleets'] vehicles to provide them with more effective ways to manage their fleets and improve operations," said Lee Jelenic, CEO of Ford Commercial Solutions.
The Data Services product is focused primarily on large company fleets, telematics service providers, and fleet management companies, according to Ford. Fleets can use Data Services to access Ford vehicle information such as GPS location, mileage, fuel use, vehicle health alerts and driver behavior.
A second Data Services product Ford announced is a tool for law enforcement fleets. It uses information collected through Data Services and "distills it to provide police fleets with insight that can help improve fleet efficiency and driver safety." This application will give law enforcement operators an "intuitive" website where they can monitor fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions, vehicle health, and driver seatbelt use, the automaker said.
In addition to Transportation Mobility Cloud acting as the information conduit for the Data Services products, Ford told Fleet Owner that Verizon Connect, Geotab and Spireon are all authorized to receive data from Ford vehicles via the cloud system. "The data comes to them through the Transportation Mobility Cloud, and these providers then share it with their fleet customers" and fold in their own fleet management functionality, the OEM explained.
Fleets with Ford vehicles dating back to model year 2012 that don't have modems built in will still be able to get the Data Services products, the automaker noted, thanks to a Ford-engineered plug-in device to be available later this year.