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Ford Test Drives the Gamification of Motoring

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Ford Test Drives the Gamification of Motoring

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Ford is amongst the forethinkers in the deployment of social business approaches.  For instance it has been running a scheme whereby early adopters were identified and asked to test drive Ford's latest vehicles.  This pre-launch testing allowed Ford to identify bugs and flaws before the vehicles hit the market.

So it’s no surprise that Ford is continuing this approach by utilizing gamification inside its latest cars in an attempt to improve our driving.  The company's 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 has 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 behaviors from us all, while in the same way making those behaviors 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 neighborhood, 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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