Ford thinks there’s a lot to be learned about transportation through gaming, so it’s announced a new competition that challenges video game developers to create solutions for global mobility issues.
It’s called the Ford Smart Mobility Game Challenge, and it’s developed with Cologne Game Lab. It encourages developers to turn the challenge of integrating different transport modes within a city into fun and engaging online games. The automaker announced the challenge at Gamescom 2015 – the largest interactive games trade fair in Europe – this week in Cologne.
So-called “gamification” has proven to be an effective way to solve real-life problems in many areas. Ford thinks ideas that come out from the Ford Smart Mobility Game Challenge could lead to innovative solutions and new approaches to integrating urban transport, with joined-up door-to-door journeys. For instance, the games developed could reward participating commuters for successful journeys, based on criteria such as time-taken, cost, comfort and convenience. They also could utilize personal data and technology including smart phones and watches.
“The Smart Mobility Game Challenge is designed to harness the creativity of the gaming community and empower gamers to take a fresh approach to tackling today’s global mobility issues,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “Applying the fun, engaging and rewarding aspects of games to journey planning can allow people to improve their commutes, track their success and become aware of how their behaviour impacts the transport infrastructure as a whole.”
Ford has embraced gamification to accelerate the development of autonomous technologies and to enhance the Ford ownership experience. Ford’s SmartGauge technology rewards drivers for fuel- and energy-efficient driving, and the MyFord Mobile app enables drivers to remotely manage the charging of their electric vehicles and shows CO2 savings as exercise balls or hot-air balloons. Ford also is using gaming elements in developing MoDe:Link, the prototype journey-planning app that is part of the Handle on Mobility electric bike experiment.
“Gaming offers a degree of user engagement and empowerment that you don’t get from other mediums,” Washington said. “By utilising these qualities the Smart Mobility Game Challenge can help develop solutions that enable travellers to take control of their journeys.”
Games could reward commuters for walking or cycling in good weather, and connect them to services beyond public transport, such as Ford’s GoDrive car-sharing service. By encouraging commuters to take under-utilised routes, games also could help ease congestion.
The competition winner will receive €10,000 and the opportunity to show their work at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.