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Ford to Expand Both Their AV and Connectivity Business

Since Ford Motor Company established its subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility LCC, they have been investing widely in new mobility services and applications like autonomous vehicles. Now, they take on further efforts as they intend to deploy more autonomous vehicles and team up with Amazon Web Services during 2019 [1,2].

Back in 2016, Ford Motor Company announced the creation of Ford Smart Mobility LCC, a subsidiary that will design, grow, build and invest in emerging mobility services. They have since been testing AVs in both Miami and Detroit together with self-driving technologies start-up Argo AI, as well as partnered with Walmart and Postmates to test autonomous delivery in Miami. Furthermore, Ford Smart Mobility LCC has launched its own subsidiary Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC) Autonomic – an open cloud-based platform for connecting and empowering future mobility systems.

Last Thursday, Ford CEO Jim Hackett told investors that the company intends to deploy upwards of 100 self-driving vehicles by the end of 2019 and expand their business to “more complex” environments with other challenges like weather changes and urban area contexts. Hackett emphasized that the company “have opted into some really difficult settings to prove this capability”, but that they are on track to launch a self-driving car fleet in 2021, though probably as a geofenced solution due to the complexity of self-driving technology.

In addition to AV business growth, Ford’s TMC Autonomic has expanded their relationship with the world leading cloud platform Amazon Web Services (AWS), by signing a multi-year, global agreement to a marriage of their cloud connectivity services with the transportation industry. According to Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, Autonomic customers will now be able to bring innovative mobility services and differentiated customer experiences to their customers worldwide.

 

Personal comments

The path forward for traditional OEMs seem to include, apart from traditional vehicle manufacturing, new mobility experiences through connectivity, in which Ford is investing widely across the area. However, as pointed out in our earlier article [3], Ford representatives stated that the company aims to first solve problems connected to transport safety, value chains and understanding customer needs before launching 100 vehicles. They rather imagined a launch of 100,000 vehicles after testing and thorough evaluation of the complete system and its business model, but perhaps these high ambitions have dwelled in the light of new technical challenges that have been worse than expected?

 

Written by Hampus Alfredsson, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-04-26. Ford to deploy up to 100 autonomous cars by the end of 2019, expand testing to third city.

2. 2019-04-23. Ford Motor Company, Autonomic, and Amazon Web Services Collaborate to Advance Vehicle Connectivity and Mobility Experiences.

3. Glitch with hyperlink, instead use direct adress: www.drivesweden.net/en/ford-showcase-their-path-autonomous-mobility-miami