Economy

Ford expands its mobility empire with a couple of acquisitions

Ford expands its mobility empire with a couple of acquisitions”

With the acquisition of Autonomic, Ford will accelerate the automaker's mission to establish the Transportation Mobility Cloud platform and support its plans to scale up other key mobility initiatives, including the drive toward full connectivity, Chariot and non-emergency medical transportation.

The new structure of Ford's Mobility group reflects this shifted focus, and should do a lot in terms of making it possible for Ford to more quickly develop and flesh out experimental new mobility offerings internally, using both existing resources, and people says it intends to hire in and around this field for the specific goal of building out Ford X. Meanwhile, Ford says it will continue to work with partner Pivotal on its FordLabs software development program, and that its new mobility teams will all benefit from that continued partnership.

Autonomic will help build the infrastructure Ford needs for mobility services that may rely on autonomous vehicles that can communicate with their surroundings. According to Reuters, the move is part of Ford's strategy to expand its ride services. It's enabling an increase in speed and scale through four newly established, integrated teams that will deliver new business innovation, business scaling and profitability, marketing and voice of customer excellence, and product development. The acquisitions follow Ford's announcement at CES earlier this month that it would be working with Silicon Valley-based Autonomic, a transportation architecture and technology provider, on its forthcoming Transportation Mobility Cloud open platform for cities and transportation partners. It's been working on demand-response technology, now for city-owned "microtransit" like shuttle services and university safe-ride programs. Autonomic CEO Sunny Madra will be leader of its new Ford X team. For Ford, it means an existing portfolio of relationships with cities, not to mention an expertise in things like dynamic routing.

These new teams will benefit from Ford's ongoing investment in and work with cloud-based software development company Pivotal.

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Ford previous year bought an undisclosed stake in Autonomic. The company will kill off poorly performing vehicle models and offer fewer iterations of surviving models.

"We want to work with transportation stakeholders of all kinds - automakers, large-scale fleet operators, public transit operators and communities everywhere - to develop the mobility platform for the cities of tomorrow", Madra wrote on Medium. Finally, Mobility Marketing and Growth will be the fourth division, tasked with pushing Ford's various transportation products and services to an audience which might more commonly associate it with just cars and trucks. The idea is to "protect the incubation group from running mature businesses", Ford's president of mobility Marcy Klevorn said on a conference call Thursday. Last week, Ford announced the launch of service in Columbus, Ohio-Chariot's fifth city.

Vehicle Management as a Service: Founded in 2017, Ford Commercial Solutions is leveraging vehicle connectivity to deliver data services and fleet optimization to the commercial segment, building on the automaker's historical strength in serving fleet customers.



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