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Ford to build own data centre to store connected car data

Cost works out at about $1m per petabyte

By Gareth Corfield, 30 Mar 2017

Following boastful tweets by American president Donald Trump about job creation, Ford is set to open its very own Michigan data centre for its connected cars.

Predicting data storage requirements of 200PB by 2021 – growing from today’s 13PB – Ford chief exec Mark Fields said in a canned statement that the new bit barn “will increase the ability of Ford’s global data insights and analytics team to transform the customer experience, enable new mobility products and services, and help Ford operate more efficiently.”

The $200m facility will be under the control of Ford’s Smart Mobility division and located in Flat Rock, on the south-west corner of Detroit.

“Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue,” continued Fields.

Flat Rock is already home to a Ford assembly plant. In January Ford said the plant would specialise in building electric and autonomous cars, creating 700 new manufacturing jobs.

Trump tweeted, immediately before Ford’s announcement:

Late last year Ford was reported to have started testing its connected cars in Coventry and Milton Keynes, with its tech being focused on using traffic light data from roadside beacons to find the best cruising speed to sail through a continuous line of green lights – “riding the green wave”.

The latter sounds like a good idea in cities where traffic lights are networked or deliberately timed in phase with each other, but Britain’s typically piecemeal deployments of traffic control measures may make this a difficult dream to achieve.

Some of London’s traffic lights on main roads can be controlled remotely by Transport for London, primarily to ease congestion. ®

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