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Ford Offers Global Mobility Gamification Challenge

August 11, 2015

Ford Motor Company is holding a competition that challenges video game developers to create solutions for global mobility issues, the company announced during last week’s Gamescom.

The Ford Smart Mobility Game Challenge, developed with Cologne Game Lab, encourages developers to turn the challenge of integrating different transport modes within a city into fun and engaging online games, according to the automaker. Gamescom 2015 is an interactive games trade fair in Europe, which took place during the first week of August in Cologne.

Gamification has proven to be an effective way to solve real-life problems in many areas. The learnings 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, according to the automaker.

Five finalists will be chosen by a panel of gaming and mobility experts. The winner will receive €10,000 (U.S.$11,035) and the opportunity to show their work at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, according to Ford.

The Smart Mobility Game Challenge is part of Ford Smart Mobility — Ford’s effort to help change the way the world moves through innovation. The challenge follows a recent Ford-commissioned survey of 5,500 commuters in major European cities that showed a majority of people consider their journey to work more stressful than their actual jobs. The finalists will be asked to incorporate the key insights from this survey into their game development plans, according to Ford.

Ford said it 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 carbon-dioxide 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.

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-utilized routes, games also could help ease congestion, according to the automaker.

Gamification has proven a powerful problem-solving tool in research fields including the search for a cure for AIDS, where a significant breakthrough was achieved through the creation of an online video game called Foldit. Gamification also is helping researchers study cancer, and is incentivizing energy efficiency and recycling initiatives, according to the automaker.

Ford said it has has developed the Smart Mobility Game Challenge with leading academic institute and think tank Cologne Game Lab, part of the Faculty of Cultural Sciences at the University of Cologne. Developers can submit their entries at Ford's mobility challenge Website until Oct. 1.

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