Ford using big data to ensure materials security


Car manufacturer Ford has said that it is using big data and analytics to ensure it has a secure supply of strategic materials such as rare earth elements, lithium and platinum group metals.

These materials are used in its powertrains on vehicles and it is essential to the operation of the business that it is able to get a secure supply.


Although only early into the process for using data to understand its supply of this data, it is also investigating use of data to better expand the number of environmentally friendly components in Ford vehicles.

Ford considers analytics and big data the next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity.

However, for the past 15 years, Ford’s Research and Innovation centre has been developing complex mathematical models to help Ford sharpen its competitive edge while limiting its environmental impact.

Use of big data has allowed Ford to develop strategies for fuel economy. It has also helped it understand that no one engine type is likely to dominate and introduce a diverse portfolio of powertrains such as hybrid, electric, biodiesel, CNG and LPG.

It is now working on vehicles that output 250 gigabytes of data per hour that will lead to increased fuel economy and reduced vehicle emissions.

The company is using this data to investigate green routing technology that optimise driving routes to reduce a vehicle’s impact on local air quality and optimal use of current and future biofuels.

Ford global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters John Viera said: “I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Ford now ranks among the greenest brands in the world. The company’s investments in the field of big data analytics have continually increased during the last 15 years.

“There are so many amazing possibilities to consider for the future impact of big data. The possibilities are not only exciting, they are in fact, almost endless.”