Jim Hackett was named the chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC. The former Steelcase CEO will also leave his position on the Ford Board of Directors to lead the new subsidiary.
The newly established company will operate both in Palo Alto (California) and in Dearborn (Michigan). The first tasks of the Ford Smart Mobility subsidiary will be to design, build, grow, and invest in new mobility services.
As such, the new subdivision will handle emerging opportunities connected to the automotive industry, like mobility services, autonomous vehicles, connectivity services, and customer experience.
Unlike a traditional carmaker, the Smart Mobility division will operate like a startup, and it will collaborate with other companies to develop new services and technologies.
It will seek new business opportunities in fields like predictive parking systems, car sharing programs, car-to-app connectivity, and autonomous vehicles. This year, Ford will be introducing FordPass, a free platform that will provide customers with a marketplace for mobility services, and members will receive dedicated benefits.
All the data collected by the new services will be used by the Ford Motor Company to anticipate customer needs. Ford already has a collaboration with IBM, which tries to improve other programs of the American company, such as the Dynamic Shuttle experiment. The latter is a point-to-point, ride on-demand system that has been established at Ford’s campus in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford Dynamic Shuttle is available for both employees and visitors, and its efficiency is monitored with the help of IBM.
Ford is not the only automaker interested in future mobility solutions, as their homologs from General Motors are investing in start-up companies as well. GM investments in this area include a collaboration with Lyft, as well as a personal mobility brand for sharing fleets, called Maven.