Ford Test Drive the Gamification of Motoring

cargamificationFord are amongst the forethinkers in the deployment of social business approaches.  For instance they have been running a scheme whereby early adopters were identified and asked to test drive their latest vehicles.  This pre-launch testing allowed them to identify bugs and flaws before the vehicles hit the market.

So it’s no surprise that they are continuing this approach by utilising gamification inside their latest cars in an attempt to improve our driving.  Their latest electric car, the Fusion Energi, comes complete with a fascinating dashboard that provides several psychological incentives to make us drive in a better and more efficient way.

For instance, the driver is awarded both a drive score and a brake score during each journey.  The brake score provides you with a score out of 100 based on the efficiency of your braking.  So for example, if you gently let the car decelerate before applying the brake to gradually finish the job, you are likely to score highly.  If you’re slamming the brakes on in a jerky fashion, your score is liable to be significantly lower.

The drive score on the other hand reflects your driving habits.  This is a more all encompassing rating that takes account of your braking, top speed, how you accelerate and even whether you do things such as have your windows open or use the air conditioning.  If you drive in an energy efficient way, by for instance speeding up gradually rather than heavily, you will be rewarded with a high drive score.  Be under no illusion however, the drive score is not easy to score highly in.

It’s a fascinating use of games within the cockpit of the car, especially when we have a generation of drivers that have grown up playing driving games on a range of digital devices that use gamification mechanisms throughout.  The aim is no doubt to use the video game experience to encourage better driving behaviours from us all, whilst in the same way making those behaviours enjoyable and engaging.  At the moment I don’t think that the scores are shared in the social realm, so it’s not possible for instance to compare your scores with other people in your neighbourhood, but it’s not hard to see that as an avenue that manufacturers will eventually take things down.

Would this sort of game mechanism encourage you to drive more efficiently?  Let me know in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “Ford Test Drive the Gamification of Motoring

  1. Do you now how Ford identified the early adopters that were asked to test drive their latest vehicles? You mentioned "scheme" but I'd be interested to know what this means? What methodology or tool was used?

  2. Interesting strategy – behavioural economics could really come into play when the scores are shared. And then I reckon we definitely start to see real and significant change in driving behaviour (which would benefit all of us, from a safety and environmental pov).

  3. I want it all, a car that is practical and economical as well as exciting to drive. So, even when reading about a hybrid or electric, I still want to know 0-60 times and how it takes a corner.
    Also, even for non-enthusiasts, the qualities that make a car “fun” — responsive and stable acceleration , maneuvering and braking — are the same qualities that make a car easy and safe to drive.

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