2006-2007: In collaboration with Ford Motor Company, this student team evaluated and redesigned the power source system within Ford vehicles to better meet customer needs with respect to usage, labeling, and location. When power sources were first incorporated in vehicles, they were used as a means to light cigarettes. Since that time, customer usage has changed dramatically with the introduction of cell phones, MP3 players, portable video games, and various other electronic devices.
The student team conducted interviews, focus groups, and surveys to obtain customer feedback regarding the auxiliary power source. They also conducted research on the competitive landscape for automotive manufacturers. The team used this information to create a collection of design requirements and a set of House of Quality tables for evaluation. The team also tested the functionality of current power sources with different devices. The team then generated and evaluated design suggestions for cap shape, cap labeling, and power source layout. The team recommended one design for cap shape, one standard cap label, and a specific layout of three power sources for Ford cars. Ford will use the results of this project to improve the power source system offered to its customers, with the goal of incorporating innovative solutions in future new model vehicles.