Ford Triples Down on Mobility, Acquires Two Tech Firms
While mobility has placed the automotive industry in a state of minor limbo, manufacturers achieving a major breakthrough may yet ascend to heaven — financially speaking. Ford has promised to deliver robot-driven taxis within a couple of years and expended quite a bit of cash to get there since acquiring Argo AI in 2017. However its autonomous arm, Ford Smart Mobility, has only encountered mixed success. Progress in terms of self-driving has been incremental, with the company shuttering some of the side businesses that explored alternative revenue streams (e.g. Chariot) and losing millions though its software investments.
Disinterested with failure, Ford partnered with Volkswagen Group earlier this year. As part of the deal, VW agreed to dump another 2.6 billion into Argo in hopes that it would accelerate development. Ford said it would be taking things a step further on Tuesday and announced the acquisition of two more tech companies.
Journey Holding Corp. is a firm that develops tracking software and other app-based technology for the transportation industry with a focus on mass transit. The other acquisition, Quantum Signal AI, is a robotics and simulation company aimed at giving Ford’s self-driving efforts a nudge in the right direction (with help from Argo and the Israel-based SAIPS).
Quantum Signal will be tapped for its algorithmic knowledge, with Ford hoping to put it into use inside of its autonomous vehicles. But it’s also going to help the automaker run digital simulations that teach machines how best to navigate a myriad of environments. That’s the hope, anyway.
Meanwhile, buying Journey Holding nets Ford access to subsidiaries Ride Systems and DoubleMap. The duo develop and run apps that track shuttle services for universities and private businesses. In the future, the acquisition is said to help ensure Ford has a system that allows it to effectively monitor its planned robo-taxi fleet while giving customers a way to access it via their phones (think Uber). It’s also supposed to help the automaker manage its existing mobility services in a similar manner.
“The combination of these transit technology companies will accelerate our efforts to help cities deliver more seamless, productive, and accessible transportation solutions to their citizens and visitors,” said Brett Wheatley, vice president Ford Mobility Marketing and Growth. “It also will be key to connecting customers with the other mobility solutions in our portfolio, such as Spin e-scooters and our GoRide Health service.”
[Image: Ford Moto Co.]
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Arthur Dailey Confession here. 2 of the previous generation Rogues in our family over the past 5 years. Saw some cost cutting between the 1st and the 2nd one. On the 'new' one there are no cubbies on the back of the front seats, the ignition is not lit, and there is a marked difference in the front seats. The first Rogue has the most comfortable seats I have experienced since the heyday of the PLCs. Despite sciatica could drive that Rogue for hours with no issues. The seats on the 2nd Rogue create discomfort after 30 minutes. And everyone in the family has noticed this.The first Rogue drove seamlessly. Quiet and comfortable on the highway. On both we have averaged just over 29 mpg. The 2nd Rogue needs to be warmed up and driven slowly if left out overnight in minus 30 (f) or -0 (c) weather, otherwise the engine just revs and the speed does not seem to increase. The dealer has been asked to look at this multiple times but each time they claim that there is no issue. It also has the worst Bluetooth interface I have experienced. Otherwise, based on size, cost, the Rogues were chosen over Toyota/Honda. Both were/are leased so not concerned about long term values/reliability. And the 'new' Rogue came standard with heated seats and blind spot warning, which the Toyota/Honda did not without going up a couple of packages.However we should have bought out the first Rogue when the lease ended. During the height of the pandemic, it could have easily been flipped for close to double the buyout cost.
- AKHusky L2 charger at home. My wife’s workplace has a couple of chargers and she is able to use one about half the time. Our town also has a number of free chargers and I use those occasionally if I’m going to be parked in that vicinity for at least an hour anyway.
- Jkross22 That's a great looking shifter. Reminds me of the old school late 70s BMW manual - BTW TTAC, that would be a cool article to run - Best looking shifters in the last 30 years. My vote:Audi gated shifter from the R8. Should've offered that on every RS model and let people special order.
- Ajla Maybe they should not have released several special edition Broncos when they couldn't even get regular trim orders out within a year?I'm not sure who is in charge of Ford's production but they deserve to be very fired.
- ToolGuy "Removing them saved 16 pounds, according to Dodge. Snazzy optional two-piece lightweight carbon fiber wheels are also part of an overall SlimFast program shedding 157 pounds compared to a Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody."From a different writeup: "The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 shaves weight with the addition of lightweight front brakes, hollow sway bars, passenger and rear seat delete, trunk trim, noise, vibration, harshness pad delete, and lightweight interior carpet with a minimal audio system."• Did Dodge consider any lightweighting efforts with the lead-acid starter battery? Because Group 94 LiFePO4 saves 35 pounds of mass vs. standard lead-acid.(If Dodge already did this, Old Guy apologizes for being mired in the past and slinks back to his cave.)
Once again, Ford is off-loading their design to outsiders. They did the same thing years ago with Mazda and Volvo (Focus/500/Explorer). The shuttering of their two prior outside investments pretty much says that the senior leaders are clueless and are using a coin to make decisions. Long term, that doesn't bode well for them.
Between mobility and the mad rush to sell bazillions of EVs nobody wants.... The question becomes which company is going to file bankruptcy first when one or both bets go bad.