Henry Ford’s calling wasn’t simply to build a strong business. He was equally passionate about the opportunity to create a better society. He believed that a good business makes excellent products while earning a healthy return. And he proved that a great business can do all that while contributing to a better world.
More than a century later, we are focused on protecting the freedom of movement of people and goods – a freedom that is being affected by large societal megatrends such as urbanization and increased traffic congestion. To address the risks as well as the opportunities, Ford and society as a whole must change the way we think, collaborate and behave.
“As we drive innovation in every part of our business, we are determined to learn, to take risks, to challenge custom and question tradition and to change our business going forward. We have given our engineers, scientists and technologists a challenge. We have asked them to use innovation not to just create better products. We have asked them to innovate to make the entire transportation experience easier, to make people’s lives better and, in doing so, to create a better world.”
We are continuing to drive innovation through every part of our company, whether though engines that save gas, advanced lightweight materials that boost capability, or cutting-edge technologies that improve safety. We go further by viewing ourselves not just as an auto company, but also as a mobility company. Ultimately, we want to help change the way the world moves by tackling critical mobility challenges, whether in crowded cities or remote rural communities.
Our vision is to truly change how the world moves – again. Henry Ford did that a century ago when he manufactured affordable automobiles for the masses, thereby democratizing travel. We believe we have an opportunity to revolutionize transportation once again, only this time we’ll be powered by the digital economy.
“Growing up, there was something almost heroic about the car. The automobile represented possibility. I think we are there again.”
We have developed what we call our Blueprint for Mobility, which is our multi-decade strategy for helping to create a better world. We have a range of experiments today that we believe will lead to all-new models of transportation and mobility within the next 10 years and beyond. We envision a future in which vehicles can communicate with one another to warn of traffic or infrastructure delays so the driver can take another route, saving time and reducing congestion; where vehicles sense each other’s presence, helping to avert accidents and improve safety; and where people routinely share vehicles and use multiple forms of transportation, enabled through more and better information.
Of course, Ford still is a car and truck company – and we’ll continue to improve our vehicles to make them better than ever. But we are evolving our thinking, adjusting our view of the car as an individual object to the car as part of a broader transportation network, all while engaging with customers, governments, citizen groups and other stakeholders to broaden our viewpoints. By driving toward unfettered access to mobility, we can enable human progress.
As part of our response to the risks and opportunities posed by societal trends, we recently announced Ford Smart Mobility, which is our plan to use innovation to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles and big data so we can provide more benefits to customers. Think of the Blueprint for Mobility as our strategic framework. Then think of Ford Smart Mobility as the way we combine key initiatives to deliver on our vision for meeting mobility needs. As the first step, in 2014 we kicked off 25 mobility experiments around the globe – all designed to test new mobility concepts and evaluate their impact on the environment and society, while creating value for our business at the same time.
Ford Smart Mobility will be transformational for our company as we tie together the promise of connected and autonomous vehicles with a broader transportation network that can make traveling from Point A to Point B easier than ever, whether in crowded cities or rural landscapes. We’re developing advanced new vehicles and new mobility solutions that, when coupled with other modes of transportation, will change the way the world moves by solving today’s growing transit challenges. It may not happen tomorrow – but we’re confident that the future possibilities are both very real and incredibly exciting.
By developing new models of mobility, we can also simultaneously help to tackle other major challenges, such as cutting greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change and reducing the impacts of road construction on lands and communities. The same dedication we have applied to reducing water use and energy consumption at our own facilities will be applied to advancing new models of mobility. We want to serve the mobility needs of increasing numbers of people while paying close attention to related resource use and impacts.