Splunk, Ford project highlights big data, automobile mashup

Splunk and Ford collaborated on a project that melds big data and vehicle information. Expect enterprise applications to follow.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Splunk and Ford have teamed up on a big data project that analyzes vehicle data, driving patterns and overall auto performance. Get used to it since Splunk and Ford are just highlighting what's likely to come down the road.

The project with Splunk and Ford combined the automaker's OpenXC research platform with Splunk Enterprise. The result was Connected Car Dashboards, which is a visualization of driving behavior. OpenXC is Ford's open source hardware and software effort to add custom apps and modules to automobiles.

According to the companies, Splunk employees drove a Ford Focus Electric vehicle and Ford Escape around San Francisco. The data was then absorbed, analyzed and visualized in a dashboard.

Splunk noted that the effort could influence vehicle design and driver safety. For Ford, the goal is to make its cards a platform and app ecosystem that yields competitive advantage. Splunk would also benefit if it can yield more customer wins in the automotive industry.

The Splunk and Ford teams were able to analyze the accelerator pedal position, speed data, steering wheel positioning and driving tendencies. Ford's OpenXC platform is the only one collecting steering wheel data.

Here's a look at some of the dashboards:

splunkford dashboard


A few thoughts on where this is headed:

  • First, an obvious use of this data would be for insurance premiums. Certain tendencies and speed would warrant higher rates? For good drivers, sharing this data would result in discounts.
  • Automakers could make design tweaks based on reliability data.
  • Law enforcement would have data that would be key in surfacing what happened in an accident.
  • And the vehicle data could make driverless vehicles more efficient on the road.
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