US carmaker Ford founds a new subsidiary and invests billions in it.
The transformation of the automotive industry is unstoppable and will cost traditional car manufacturers a lot of money as they are evolving from manufacturers to mobility providers. However, this in turn promises to bring in a lot of money in the long run.
This January Ford already announced that the development would not be cheap. Its representatives gave an outlook on the balance sheet result and indicated a decrease of 300 million US dollars. Same applies for the outlook for next year - the reason for this is not only the change to a mobility service provider, but also investments in autonomous driving and e-mobility. In addition, new business models have to be developed to occupy new markets.
Subsidiary of Ford: Autonomous Vehicles LLC
Recently Ford founded a new subsidiary called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC with a sum of four billion US dollars. Its head will be former Vice President Sherif Marakby, which shows the relevance of the topic for the group. Nevertheless, there will be no merge with the already founded subsidiary Smart Mobility LLC. Instead, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC will acquire shares in the startup Argo AI, which is working on the development of autonomous driving for Ford. In return, Argo AI will be funded with one billion US dollars.
Autonomous Vehicles LLC will put the focus on the research and marketing of the autonomous driving technology. Its goal is to improve the driving experience and develop new business strategies. For this reason, it seems doubtful that they will work on establishing an autonomous driving service. After all, there are already a number of strong suppliers in the market - from Waymo, Daimler and Bosch to General Motors.
Ford is surely not the only company to embrace change with this approach. Audi, for example, has also founded a subsidiary, the Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH. Like most other industry participants, Ford wants to have autonomous driving ready for series production by 2021. Only GM and Waymo plan to take off beforehand.
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