Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC will include Ford’s self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams. The business will be based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold the manufacturer’s stake in Argo AI, the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development.
The carmaker is planning to invest around $4 billion (€3.4 billion) in autonomous vehicles through 2023, including its $1 billion (€856 million) investment in Argo which was completed in June last year.
Sherif Marakby, currently Ford vice president, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, is appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s executive vice president and president, Mobility. The closer alignment of the self-driving platform and the mobility solutions teams will allow faster development of businesses that can thrive in the pre- and post-autonomous vehicle worlds.
‘Ford has made tremendous progress across the self-driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,’ said Jim Hackett, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. ‘Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.’
With Marakby’s move, Ted Cannis, global director, electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, the team responsible for developing and bringing to market next-generation electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, executive vice president and president, Global Markets.
Ford’s electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features.
Meanwhile, with collaboration between Germany and China accelerating in automated driving and intelligent connected vehicles, Daimler and technology company Baidu have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their cooperation in these strategic fields. The two companies have agreed to deepen their partnership through joint automated driving and connectivity projects, including further strengthening their collaboration through Baidu’s Apollo open platform. Both companies will also work to explore new fields in-vehicle connectivity services.
Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: ‘With the changes facing the industry today, we have worked consistently to implement our C.A.S.E. strategy for innovation both globally and at a local level in China. In particular, automated driving and connectivity are progressing at an unprecedented rate in China, and our continued success depends not only on staying ahead of these trends but on leading them. Daimler and Baidu already enjoy a strong partnership in these two fields, and the signing of this memorandum marks a new milestone in the cooperation between our two companies.’