Ford has set up a global mobility subsidiary that would position the company to compete in the rapidly emerging transportation services market and better address trends such as connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles and the consumer experience through data and analytics.
Ford Smart Mobility would operate as a subsidiary of Ford Motor Co. with operations in Palo Alto, Calif., and Dearborn, Mich. The company hopes to become "both an auto and a mobility company."
Ford has named Jim Hackett chairman of the subsidiary. Hackett retired from office furniture provider Steelcase at the end of February. He resigned from Ford's Board of Directors on March 10 to take on the role.
The move stems from the Ford Mobility Initiative that began in early 2015 that included 25 research projects around the globe to test new ideas and address growing transportation challenges, including parking availability in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and London; car sharing in Germany and Bangalore, India; urban commuting in Shangai; and rural medical support in The Gambia.
The subsidiary will focus on connectivity with its SYNC 3 system and AppLink; mobility with its GoPark predictive parking and GoDrive car-sharing programs in London; autonomous vehicle fleet testing in California, Arizona, and Michigan; the consumer experience with its FordPass digital platform; and data and analytics around its dynamic shuttle experiment.