Ford Vecto Trace

Industrial Design / Mechanical Engineering / Packaging Design

creative product design agency
The Client

Ford Motor Company (Ford), is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.   It was founded in 1903  by Henry Ford and is still a beacon of automobile innovation today.

 “...build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams.” -Ford Motor Company

The Product

The Vecto Trace module: a data recorder prototype for commuting cyclists.

The Challenge

Ford Motor Company came to our team with a request focused not on four wheels, but two. The global automaker wanted to explore developing a data recorder for commuting cyclists. This recorder would focus not on rider health, but on the road and surrounding conditions.  We knew immediately hooking into the social network was a must.  Furthermore we understood that we would need to define the space within the blank niche that would allow Ford to extend it’s image as only a car manufacturer into one of a transportation company.  They came to Speck armed with a printed circuit board and analytics software so we understood we would need to create everything around that. 

Potential competitors were already gathering data during rides that helped cyclists make better decisions. 

The product’s name also needed to convey elements important to the identified design target.

The process

As always, Specks design and engineering teams began by thinking about people, specifically trying to empathize with commuting cyclists. Multiple rounds of one-on-one research with avid cyclists identified distinct commuter types. Each group cared about and believed in different things as it related to their riding experience. Speck helped Ford select a rider design target and validated multiple ideas through the process with those participants. Critical to the process was helping Ford understand the difference between tracking and training, along with the added value that other product features could bring. By mapping the rider's journey and how it can affect them cognitively and emotionally, Speck helped heighten Ford’s understanding of cyclists through empathy..

the outcome

Speck created and developed a small module that attached to a standard water bottle fitting that made for an elegant and satisfying user experience.The module contained a rechargeable battery; riders interacted with it via a simple button on the handle bars. Riders without water bottle cages could mount the device directly on the bicycle; indicator LEDs advised riders of battery state. Specked and manufactured ten Vecto Trace modules and packages. The module came in a beautifully designed and branded package that included simple and clear instructions.  The luxe and premium packaging included a cutaway frame form factor that truly set it apart.

Speck also recommended the name Vecto Trace.  This nomenclature allowed the product to step away from the existing Ford “umbrella” while retaining clear association with ithe brand through deft use of the Ford Motor Company color palette.

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Product Description

Ford Motor Company (Ford), is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.   It was founded in 1903  by Henry Ford and is still a beacon of automobile innovation today.

 “...build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams.” -Ford Motor Company

Project Overview

The Vecto Trace module: a data recorder prototype for commuting cyclists.

Project Approach

Ford Motor Company came to our team with a request focused not on four wheels, but two. The global automaker wanted to explore developing a data recorder for commuting cyclists. This recorder would focus not on rider health, but on the road and surrounding conditions.  We knew immediately hooking into the social network was a must.  Furthermore we understood that we would need to define the space within the blank niche that would allow Ford to extend it’s image as only a car manufacturer into one of a transportation company.  They came to Speck armed with a printed circuit board and analytics software so we understood we would need to create everything around that. 

Potential competitors were already gathering data during rides that helped cyclists make better decisions. 

The product’s name also needed to convey elements important to the identified design target.

Ford Motor Company (Ford), is an American multinational automaker headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan.   It was founded in 1903  by Henry Ford and is still a beacon of automobile innovation today.

 “...build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams.” -Ford Motor Company

The Vecto Trace module: a data recorder prototype for commuting cyclists.

Ford Motor Company came to our team with a request focused not on four wheels, but two. The global automaker wanted to explore developing a data recorder for commuting cyclists. This recorder would focus not on rider health, but on the road and surrounding conditions.  We knew immediately hooking into the social network was a must.  Furthermore we understood that we would need to define the space within the blank niche that would allow Ford to extend it’s image as only a car manufacturer into one of a transportation company.  They came to Speck armed with a printed circuit board and analytics software so we understood we would need to create everything around that. 

Potential competitors were already gathering data during rides that helped cyclists make better decisions. 

The product’s name also needed to convey elements important to the identified design target.

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