Just a year ago, we talked about our expansion to an auto and a mobility company. We’re doing this as the world moves from just owning vehicles to owning and sharing them.
And, this year, the expansion of our business moves into even higher gear.
As we gain revenue and customers we previously did not serve, it’s an enormous business opportunity. In fact, we expect extremely healthy 20 percent margins from this emerging part of our business going forward.
Ultimately, our vision is to help make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves with world-class vehicles, mobility services and a wider range of transportation solutions.
We’re off to a very strong start. We’ve formed the Ford Smart Mobility LLC. We’re hiring new talent and doubling our presence in Silicon Valley. We’re investing in the mobility services industry. We’re creating the FordPass app. We’re partnering with Motivate to launch Ford GoBikes in San Francisco and acquiring San Francisco-based Chariot.
Using Ford Transit, Chariot is an app-based, crowd-sourced shuttle service that adapts to customer demand, complementing mass transit and providing transportation to underserved areas.
Since we purchased Chariot in September, we’ve already expanded to Austin with plans to grow to eight markets by the end of this year, including at least one market outside the U.S.
Now, Chariot is just one way we are developing solutions that help people move more easily — whether they own a car or not.
We’re also aggressively developing dynamic routing, digital payments, ride security, fleet services and more.
Core to our mobility work are the cities around the world facing gridlock and pollution. We know these cities need a partner to deliver mobility solutions. And Ford is deeply committed to being that partner.
The Ford City Solutions team — the only one of its kind in the any industry — is working with cities around the world to conceptualize and implement new ways of getting locals and visitors where they want to go, whether via dynamic shuttles, autonomous vehicles, ride hailing services, bike sharing or all of the above.
And, to do this, we’re working with some exceptional partners. We recently announced we’re partnering on mobility with Bloomberg Philanthropies. We’re excited to be working with Michael Bloomberg and his coalition of mayors to improve mobility in our cities around the world.
His team saw the opportunity to engage mayors around the world on the topic of mobility and, in October, he announced an initiative to engage cities in planning for this future. We at Ford are excited about being part of this public-private partnership.
These are big challenges we’re facing, but working together with passionate partners, we will unlock a future that can only be imagined today.
Even with all the progress we’re making today, it’s always important to have one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow. That’s why we’re spending time on the City of Tomorrow. We see partnering with cities as a great opportunity — to serve a need and to build on our longstanding relationship providing police vehicles, ambulances and taxis.
Ford’s City of Tomorrow looks at how near-term mobility advancements — including autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing and ride hailing and connected vehicles — interact with urban infrastructure and create a transportation ecosystem.
In the near term, as we look out five years, we see the start of new infrastructure for cities, including wireless charging, traffic management and beginning to link vehicles to this infrastructure.
We also will see far more sharing, with bikes, ride-hailing and ride-sharing, and dynamic shuttles, like Chariot.
And, finally, we see dramatic changes in the vehicles themselves, with more connectivity, more electrification and more autonomy.
Longer term — 15, 20 and even 30 years out — we’re imagining a world with significant concentrations of autonomous vehicles, most of which will be electrified. Mass transit will advance for the largest cities, with new technologies like high-speed public transit.
Other innovations could include:
- Drones that will play many roles. For example, they could be quickly deployed to survey and map the hardest-hit areas following earthquakes, tsunamis or other major disasters.
- Advanced transportation operating systems that more robustly and seamlessly integrate data from all aspects of the ecosystem. This includes vehicles, bikes, drones and mass transit as well as street lights, parking meters and charging infrastructure.
- Large-scale implementation of advanced technologies for flexible traffic management coupled with autonomous vehicles — eliminating traffic jams, reducing emissions and bringing traffic accidents to nearly zero.
- Converting road space into green space and parks, allowing for higher quality of life and healthier communities
And that’s why we’re investing in these emerging opportunities.
So does this signal a time in our future when driving and owning cars are things of the past? No. Cars and trucks will remain a cornerstone of society. In fact, this evolution will help cars and trucks become more effective and fun.
We’re coming together to develop the City of Tomorrow.
We are entering a new era in transportation and all of us at Ford are thrilled to help build that future.