Ford Motor Company has delivered two Ford Rangers to Riders for Health (Riders) in Nigeria as part of the motor company’s Project Better World, which provides support to grassroots efforts to drive sustainable community innovation around the globe.

The Ford Rangers will be outfitted with Ford’s data-capturing OpenXC technology, a Ford Smart Mobility project, which collects vehicle performance, environment conditions, and location data that can be used to optimise delivery of healthcare services and supplies.

Ford Project Better World brings together multiple organizations such as Riders in Nigeria, and social entrepreneurs to deliver health education, medication, nutrition and basic services to thousands of underserved people in remote areas. The services will be accessed using enhanced mobility and connectivity technologies from Ford vehicles.

Riders is a non-profit organisation that seeks to make healthcare in rural African communities more accessible by providing motorcycles for medical practitioners to use for transport. For Riders, motorcycles allow for quicker and more affordable transportation to remote areas across hazardous terrain. 

The addition of two Rangers to the Riders’ fleet is invaluable to the programme’s operations in Nigeria as the new vehicles will also be used to deliver medical professionals and supplies in rural areas, as well as to support Riders’ fleet of motorcycles.

“The Rangers guarantee extra capacity in mobility, allowing us more coverage,” says Ajayi Kayode, Country Director for Riders for Health Nigeria.

“We are going to expand our patient monitoring and evaluation activities, saving a lot of money in the process that would otherwise go towards hiring a vehicle,” adds Kayode. “We also hope to generate additional income by leasing the vehicles to humanitarian agencies in between our own schedules.”

The delivery of the Rangers supports a $75,000 investment from the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Company. 

These funds support Riders in Nigeria with the education and training of local mechanics to service the entire Riders fleet of vehicles, which include a wide range of motorcycles and cars. Riders works with the Nigerian Ministry of Health and other health-related partners to manage their healthcare vehicles, maintaining a total fleet of 370 Ford and other vehicles. 

Riders for Health uses 77 Ford vehicles across six African countries – Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, The Gambia, Malawi, and Zambia. 

OpenXC Technology

Ford will also help Riders for Health improve its maintenance systems and vehicle fleet logistics by equipping the new Ford Rangers with the company’s OpenXC sensor technology that forms part of Ford Smart Mobility –. Ford’s plan to be a leader in mobility, connectivity, data, and analytics.

The fitted OpenXC sensor kit will record every trip the Ford Rangers make and the information collected will provide a database of the Riders team’s routes, vehicle operating parameters and environmental conditions like altitude and ambient pressure. This data can then be used to create maps of remote regions, optimise routes, and track vehicle maintenance. The OpenXC kit gathers information such as wheel speed, acceleration and altitude, as well as traffic patterns, pedestrian data, and road conditions. For Riders, this data in invaluable.

“The Open XC technology will quicken our data collection processes, and improve our overall efficiency,” says Kayode. “We will have quicker routes and fewer maintenance interruptions, which will allow us to provide faster and more efficient healthcare to the communities that we service. We will be able to deliver more medical supplies and healthcare providers to remote regions, and on a regular basis – improving our overall coverage and making people healthier.”

Ford is gathering and analysing vehicle data collected by OpenXC. Learnings could be expanded to other transportation modes – helping ambulance and emergency services providers improve efficiency across the world.