GM isn't the only US automaker making self-driving car announcements today. Ford revealed a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility, that will focus on developing new technology for autonomous vehicles, in-car connectivity and transportation services. Former Steelcase CEO and Ford board member Jim Hackett will oversee the new offshoot, which the company says is part of its goal to be "both an auto and a mobility company."
Ford will continue to focus on its core business of making automobiles for the masses, but the new subsidiary will allow the company to devote resources to "emerging opportunities." More specifically, those opportunities are connectivity, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and data analytics. Ford Smart Mobility will be tasked with further development of the SYNC infotainment system, the GoPark and GoDrive parking and car-sharing services and the FordPass transportation hub.
The Smart Mobility arm will also oversee Ford's autonomous car efforts in Arizona, California and Michigan. In fact, the company claims that it will have "the largest fleet" of the self-driving vehicles of any manufacturer this year. The mobility initiative will also conduct research and data analysis to better predict the needs and wants of Ford's customer base.
"Ford Smart Mobility and expanding into mobility services are significant growth opportunities," said Ford CEO Mark Fields. "Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue."
We just hope Ford actually makes this electric unicycle.