D-Ford takes human-centric design to the next level

Ford’s human-centred design company is working to solve today’s driver problems and anticipate future ones. By Megan Lampinen

For commercial drivers, their vehicles play a central role in their business success. These vans and trucks rack up high mileage and often double as mobile offices. In many cases, drivers are working to high-pressure efficiency targets where every second counts. Monitoring the changing needs of this segment is no easy task.

Special report: Commercial vehicle driver workplaces

Ford is the leading commercial vehicle brand in both the US and Europe, and plans to keep that title. To do so, it must not only respond to user feedback but also anticipate it. That task falls to D-Ford.

D-Ford serves as Ford Motor Company’s Global Innovation ‘start-up lab’ focused on developing human-centred design. “We’re putting the customer right at the heart of our design process,” says Usha Raghavachari, Lab Director at D-Ford. She set up the division in 2019, bringing together an eclectic bunch of software developers, engineers, data scientists, product designers, and business model specialists. “We are working to deeply understand the needs of the customers we’re trying to serve,” she tells Automotive World. “At the same time, we look at signals of what is going to change in their world in the future. We put those two together in our process and create new products and services.”

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