Ford Econo Check

From the concept through to the finished product
Using an OBD data logger, known as the Ford Econo Stick, it is possible to analyse a customer’s driving style and provide tips on fuel-efficient driving. Bertrandt Cologne supported Ford during the entire planning and development phase and the production process. The engineers’ objectives were to provide quality assurance services and to reduce the impact of car travel on the environment.

Driving style can be measured
Bertrandt’s services covered the entire process chain from the concept through to the finished manufactured product, including related functions, for the Ford Econo Stick, a mobile data logger. Using the Econo Stick, Ford’s Econo Check program can analyse a customer’s driving style over a period of a week via the OBD2 interface. Information such as the vehicle speed, the engine speed and other relevant vehicle data is recorded. Subsequently the driver is sent a report by e-mail which lists his or her positive and negative driving behaviours in an easy-to-understand form. In addition, the report gives helpful tips on fuel-efficient driving which are directly related to the driver’s driving style and the potential annual savings in litres of fuel, euros and kilos of CO2. The aim of the Econo Check program is to explain to the driver about his or her driving style, to encourage fuelefficient driving and, therefore, to make a significant contribution to reducing the car’s environmental impact. In addition, the statistical evaluation of all the driving data provides information for the quality assurance, development and marketing departments, which results in added value for all car buyers.

Development and production services from one provider
The interdisciplinary expertise of the Bertrandt engineers proved to be a valuable resource during the entire planning, development and production phase. The process chain was coordinated by Bertrandt project managers. The hardware and software was developed by electronics specialists at Bertrand Cologne, while the ergonomic housing was designed by the design engineering department. Bertrandt also took responsibility for manufacturing individual components in collaboration with its established partners. The Bertrandt team remained in constant contact with the customer and with the other suppliers in order to ensure that the project ran as smoothly as possible and to keep everyone up-to-date on the latest progress. On the basis of the V model, Bertrandt Cologne developed a rough concept during the system specification phase which was fine-tuned following the subsequent feasibility study and marketing analysis. The requirements analysts investigated 40 vehicle models with a wide range of different engines in order to identify their special features. On-site specialists were responsible for handling risk management, legal issues and patent research.

After this the specifications for the technical aspects of the system were drawn up and converted by systems architects into an overall structure. Both the hardware and software aspects of the project went through the specification, architecture and implementation phases. During the software integration and hardware installation stages, the engineers brought the two strands of development together. The software and hardware were tested separately and as a complete system. One important feature was the successfully completed certification process, together with CE and E13 approval and the temperature, drop and vibration tests based on standards procedures.

Bertrandt also took responsibility for coordinating the production of several thousand units on the basis of the customer’s requirements. These were delivered on time throughout Europe. During and after the production process, the Bertrandt developers provided support for the customer on all the technical and organisational issues. In addition, constructive feedback from field trials was incorporated into subsequent software releases.

Identifying further potential savings
On the basis of the successful collaboration, Bertrandt was awarded additional projects to extend the Econo Check concept. Additions were made to the original range of functions of the Econo Stick and to the analysis algorithms needed for the evaluation. In addition, further applications for the Econo Stick were identified. For example, Bertrandt Cologne developed the next stage of the product, which will offer additional features, as part of an innovation project.