Together, Let’s Take Back the Streets
“Henry Ford once declared that he wanted to open the highways for all humankind, giving us extraordinary new freedom. Yet as our towns and cities were designed around the automobile, roads overtook community centers. Time we used to spend with each other is now often wasted in congestion and traffic. Thirty years ago, we spent an average of 16 hours in traffic per year; now, it’s 38 hours.
Today, the transport systems of most global cities have reached capacity, yet more and more of us seek the benefits of great urban centers. Faced with this rapid urbanization, and the pollution and congestion that come with it, we have to admit that the model of the past is no longer tenable. We need to update cities to more efficiently move people and goods, improving the quality of life for all.
Now is our opportunity to reclaim the streets for living: to start building a true City of Tomorrow, reimagining how our streets and cities function more efficiently. With the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and the rise of autonomous and connected vehicles, we have technology capable of a complete disruption and redesign of the surface transportation system for the first time in a century. Everything from parking, traffic flow and goods delivery can be radically improved – reducing congestion and allowing cities to transform roads into more public spaces.
That is why Ford is taking a user-centered, systems-level design approach to mobility. We need to step back and look broadly at how the overall transportation operating system can help us all lead better, more productive lives. We have begun by collaborating with cities, civic organizations, urban planners, technologists and designers around the world to develop new ways of moving people and goods.
The challenge is enormous, but it is a task we must undertake because the old system is failing. We will reaffirm our shared humanity and build communities that inspire and support all of us. That is the kind of sharing economy we need.”
Creating a Cloud Platform to Power Smart Cities
Growing urbanization brings increasing congestion. The way to tackle city mobility challenges is to think of the many elements as parts of a singular ecosystem comprising infrastructure and equipment, personal vehicles, mass transit and ride-sharing services, and digital interfaces and processes. Individual solutions – electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing services, etc. – need to interact with all the other components in this “ecosystem,” speak a common language and work together.
To address some of the issues we’ll face, collaboration will be crucial – partnerships such as the one with Autonomic to create the Transportation Mobility Cloud. This open-sourced platform is able to facilitate the flow of information and perform key processes to support the entire system, from payment methods and identity verification to parking assist and real-time traffic intelligence. As well as being the proving ground for our self-driving vehicles, Miami will also serve as the test bed for the Cloud.
To be fully connected and seamless, solutions from self-driving vehicles to ride-sharing services will need cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) connectivity: the ability to interact, not only with each other but also all the other components of the transportation “ecosystem.”
Creating Intelligent Cities of the Future
In 2017, we opened our Mobility Innovation Office, Here East, in London. The office will target the near-term development of mobility technologies, focusing on the specific requirements of European cities, such as helping to improve air quality, ease congestion and broaden mobility for Londoners.
The Here East campus is already home to long-standing research partner Loughborough University, as well as the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which supports our powertrain research.
Watch a video about our thoughts about the future of mobility in cities and the technology that underpins our solutions
Mobilizing the Future
To accelerate our mobility solutions, we have acquired two technology firms, Autonomic and TransLoc. Autonomic is a technology company specializing in scale, architecture and leverage for transportation solutions, while TransLoc provides demand-response technology for city-owned microtransit solutions.
Our acquisition of Autonomic will bring forward the establishment of our Transportation Mobility Cloud platform and support other key mobility initiatives. Autonomic will also help us create and incubate new mobility businesses, as well as access technology talent
Through TransLoc, we will be able to leverage the company’s operational expertise and network of city relationships, as well as its dynamic routing solutions that have helped cities and motorists globally
We also work very closely with cities to ensure that we provide mobility solutions that will improve the way their citizens move around.
Underpinning everything we do are two core elements – delivering a human-centric experience, and building on the foundation of trust the Ford brand already enjoys. Taking a human-centric approach means we’re focusing on the experiences we can create for owners and users of our vehicles and how they need to move, and creating and using technology to deliver those experiences.
To build trust, we are building on our reputation and focusing on privacy and security. Our owners and users need to know they can trust us with the data they choose to share with us.
We are accelerating and expanding our activities to deliver a broad suite of mobility products and services, for individual car owners right through to entire cities. By establishing four new, integrated teams, we will increase both the speed and scale of our work:
Ford X: offering quick incubation of potential products and services, and new mobility businesses early in their development
Mobility Business Group: responsible for scaling the company’s existing mobility businesses
Mobility Platforms and Products: leading design and development for the technology underpinning Ford’s mobility businesses
Mobility Marketing and Growth: driving demand with individual consumers and with commercial and city customers, and ensuring the voice of the customer is heard throughout the organization