Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn today announced major changes to accelerate the delivery of its mobility products and services to customers, including the acquisition of Autonomic, a Palo Alto, California-based technology company that specializes in scale, architecture, and leverage for transportation industry solutions.
The automaker also announced the acquisition of TransLoc, a Durham, North Carolina-based provider of demand-response technology for city-owned micro-transit solutions. The addition of TransLoc will allow Ford to leverage its operational expertise, network of city relationships, and proven track record of providing solutions to cities globally that can improve the rider experience with dynamic routing. Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.
Ford also is announced the reorganization of its teams that develop and scale mobility solutions. Building on the integration of Ford’s data and analytics group and information technology team into Ford Mobility under the leadership of Marcy Klevorn, president of Ford Mobility, the reorganization will establish four new groups focused on mobility products, services, and businesses.
The new groups are:
- Ford X: Ford’s acquisition of Autonomic will serve as the cornerstone for its new Ford X team. Part of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, this team will have responsibility for ensuring Ford is continuously discovering and actively incubating new business models. To support this mission, Ford X will oversee the Transportation Mobility Cloud platform; the Ford X Accelerator, a new group dedicated to quick incubation of potential products and services; and new mobility businesses early in their development.
- Mobility Business Group: With responsibility for scaling the company’s existing mobility businesses, Ford Smart Mobility LLC’s new Mobility Business Group will oversee Ford Commercial Solutions; Ford’s micro-transit businesses including Chariot and the non-emergency medical transportation unit; FordPass and digital services, including those supporting autonomous vehicle businesses, in-vehicle services and personal vehicle ownership; and future businesses once they mature following their incubation within Ford X.
- Mobility Platforms and Products: Ford Mobility’s product solutions group will lead design and development for the technology underpinning Ford’s mobility businesses, including connectivity, FordPass platform elements, vehicle management as a service, transportation as a service, its autonomous vehicle partnership platform and foundational platforms.
- Mobility Marketing and Growth: To drive demand with consumers and commercial and city customers, and to ensure the voice of the customer is heard throughout the organization, Ford Smart Mobility LLC is establishing a global marketing and sales team. This group brings together Ford’s City Solutions team, its regional Ford Smart Mobility leads, TransLoc, and related marketing and sales talent into one organization.
The new teams will benefit from Ford’s ongoing investment in and work with Pivotal. They will also benefit from learnings from the 2017 implementation of product teams, a structure common in software companies and used in FordLabs — the automaker’s four software development and implementation operations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India.
With the new organization, several leadership appointments were announced:
- Sunny Madra, CEO and cofounder of Autonomic, will join Ford as vice president, Ford X.
- Marion Harris, CFO, Ford Credit, will be named vice president, Mobility Business Group.
- Rich Strader, who is named vice president, Mobility Platforms, and Products.
- Brett Wheatley, director, Ford Marketing, Sales and Service Fitness Transformation, is appointed vice president, Mobility Marketing and Growth.
As part of the realignment and new businesses, Ford says it will accelerate and launch businesses in the following areas:
- Transportation operating system: The company’s open, cloud-based platform – the Transportation Mobility Cloud that manages information flow and basic transactions between a variety of components in the transportation ecosystem – will be expanded beyond Ford to include other automakers, suppliers, partners and cities; a developer network to build and support the system also will be launched.
- Connectivity: Preparing to deliver digital services to personal, fleet and city customers, Ford’s mobility team will deliver on the company’s commitment of 100 percent connectivity of new vehicles in the United States by 2019 and push toward its goal of 90 percent connectivity globally by 2020.
- Ride sharing: Chariot, the cornerstone of Ford’s micro-transit solutions, will see an acceleration of city launches globally this year; launches will be based on a major shift in focus to the unit’s enterprise business, which provides employee transportation services for businesses. Just last week, Ford announced the launch of service in Columbus, Ohio — Chariot’s fifth city.
- Non-emergency medical transportation: Tapping into the growing healthcare transportation market, Ford Mobility will expand its non-emergency medical transportation operation from a Southeast Michigan pilot with Beaumont Health into a full business serving multiple medical systems.
- 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. Ford Commercial Solutions will expand its offerings globally this year.
As outlined at the 2018 CES show in Las Vegas, Ford’s mobility strategy is to deliver a broad suite of products and services that enhance all layers of the transportation system — vehicles, infrastructure, connectivity, and digital services — to alleviate the transportation drag on cities and help people move more freely in the City of Tomorrow.
“We believe transportation done right — as part of a systems approach — can bring life back to our cities,” says Klevorn. “By accelerating our delivery of mobility services through the changes we are making today, we are enabling that revival, enhancing our competitiveness and creating long-term value for Ford shareholders.”
Ford’s acquisition of Autonomic 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. In addition to being able to fully capture the value created by this platform, Ford also will benefit from the Autonomic team’s capabilities in creating and incubating new mobility businesses, as well as relationships that will further improve Ford’s access to top technology talent.
“As we deliver on our commitment to provide solutions for cities’ transportation challenges, an important part of our process is to determine whether to build, buy, or partner the capabilities required,” says Klevorn. “We believe the integration of the technology and talent from Autonomic and TransLoc into our Mobility team will further bolster our ability to deliver robust solutions for personal owners, fleet operators, and cities with speed and at scale.
“2018 is the year Ford Mobility moves from foundation building to product and service delivery, and we are acting decisively to ensure our teams are set up for success. The acquisitions of Autonomic and TransLoc, together with the new organization, will enable faster innovation incubation and product development times, as well as increase the group’s ability to scale and create value for our shareholders.”