Ford uses artificial intelligence to solve urban problemsOctober 4, 2019
Ford City Insights turns traffic, parking, and police data into algorithms to figure out how to optimize daily driving.
Ford took another step forward in the transition from the automaker to the mobile company. This week, in a small office building in the center of Ann Arbor, the American brand, instead of working on a new car or a fashionable update, took up the development of a new technology based on artificial intelligence (AI).
Next to the large 3D model of the city, Ford’s vice president of mobility, marketing and growth, Brett Wheatley, announced the Ford City Insights platform. It uses AI and data from various sources, including traffic cameras, parking garages and police reports, to analyze where collisions are most likely to occur, which roads are best served by microtransit shuttles or scooters.
The City Insights platform consists of four main sectors: security, parking, transit and a three-dimensional model. The AI system uses its deep data sources to answer questions from Ford engineers or city officials. Are there not enough parking spaces in the city? It turns out there is, but most drivers do not know where the open spaces are. The discovery of this fact meant that Ann Arbor decided not to build a new parking structure and would instead figure out how to direct drivers to the parking spaces.
What role do lanes play in city traffic? Ford installed sensors in a local lane and collected data on who used the space and which cars use it at what time. In a city with an average of 85,000 people traveling on a weekday, they analyzed who is moving where, and this is an important first step toward changing the situation for the better.
The fourth part of City Insights is City Insights. It consists of 3D printing buildings and city blocks that are installed on flat-screen TVs and display maps and data. The point is to better visualize data from other segments. All four parts that make up City Insights depend on traffic cameras, parking garages, police reports of collisions, and other data sources. Thanks to Ford car owners who choose to share data, AI City Insights can receive information, including where emergency situations occur, such as emergency braking accidents.
“At Ford, we do much more than just make cars. We are working to solve mobility problems by working with cities, ”said Wheatley.
Ford has been working with Ann Arbor over the past 18 months to prepare City Insights, and the automaker has announced that it will extend testing of the City Insights platform to six more cities: Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Pittsburgh, and two other cities in Michigan: Detroit and Grand Rapids . Ford has worked with some of these cities as part of its City: One challenge mobility program. Ford said this week that it was discussing City Insights with other cities, but did not name them. Ford also did not say it could charge cities to use the City Insights platform.
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