Windsor is the first Canadian city to partner with the Ford Motor Company on a pilot project looking to improve traffic safety.
Ford vehicles purchased after 2017 collect and send data, such as speed, forward collision warnings and harsh braking events, to computers at Ford over a cellular network. A Ford program, known as Safety Insights, is now going to use that data to inform the City of Windsor of emerging traffic safety concerns and areas that need to be improved.
"Sometimes it can be a change in policy or providing information to police where enforcement might be better to address speeding issues resulting in collisions," said the city's transportation planner Jeff Hagan.
The collaboration between Ford and Windsor is a one-year pilot that is being funded through the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corp's $30,000 FedDev grant for Automobility Ecosystem building.
"This collaboration will contribute to safer roads and more efficient traffic planning and infrastructure in the City of Windsor and strengthen Windsor's growing reputation as the automobility capital of Canada," said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.
The collected data also includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), but Ford said that that information is not shared with the city, adding that vehicle owners need to give consent for their data to be used.
Ontario's former information and privacy commissioner says that gives the car owner more assurances.
"I think that's the way to go because the whole point is you want individuals to have the choice as to whether they want to be tracked or not," she said.
While there are millions of Ford vehicles providing information, tens of thousands are located in the Windsor area — enough to provide some good insight, according to Ford.
"Still a significant number that can be generating this data and again that sort of aggregate view to help power very rich insights about overall driving trends," said Cal Coplai from Ford mobility, Ford Motor Co.