Car manufacturers all over the globe are on the hunt for startups to drive the development of autonomous driving. Ford is also searching for partners and has declared Europe its hunting ground.
There are different ways to conquer the startups’ hearts
Initially companies or associations like the VDA (German Automotive Industry Association) organized Hackathons for young companies to demonstrate their skills. The participants were facing various tasks that they had to solve in a team.
Meanwhile the industry found new ways to attract innovative startups. Money is always helpful, but supporting the startups with developing new ideas is most appreciated. Several OEMs grabbed a big bag of money and scanned Silicon Valley for promising startup to cooperate with. Recently the industry also placed its focus on Israel where the startup scene is on a rise.
In February Ford spent over one billion dollars for the startup AI Argo. Ford also organizes Hackathons and is supporting startups in cooperation with the University of Michigan. The next project is called Ford Connected Vehicle and Services Team-Tour which took off in September. Ford invites startups based in large European cities working on new types of mobility – particularly those that can provide features for the infotainment system SYNC 3. The tour stops at Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Stockholm, Wien and also Tel Aviv in Israel. Companies can apply for the tour on https://makeitdriveable.com
A new strategy for Ford?
Ford seems to have a more urgent need for innovations and new sales opportunities for technology than others. New CEO Jim Hackett stated that the company is looking for new chances on the autonomous driving market, but won’t necessarily enter the robot taxi market. Many OEMs are planning to enter the market, besides there is a good amount of startups working on that topic. Studies confirm that the robot taxi market will be highly competitive hence it’s no great surprise that some companies like Ford are hesitant to enter the race.
About the author:
David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de