Ford Motor is acquiring two software startups and restructuring its two-year-old transportation subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility, as it continues a strategy to expand beyond its traditional business of making and selling cars.
The giant car manufacturer purchased Autonomic and TransLoc, and conducted a major reshuffling of its mobility-services group.
Autonomic is a cloud-services startup that Ford acquired a stake in last October. Ford bought the startup outright in order to accelerate the development of the Transportation Mobility Cloud, an open-source platform for use by urban transportation services. Autonomic CEO Sunny Madra will also lead Ford X, a new team focused on developing new marketable tech-based services.
TransLoc also focuses on software, marketing an app called Rider for transit schedules and developing backend software infrastructure for transit agencies. Uber has shown some interest in the company in the past, but now Ford wants to leverage TransLoc’s experience with coordinating transportation services, as well as the startup’s network of relationships with transit agencies, for its own services.
Ford is also dividing up its existing mobility services group into four distinct entities. Ford X will serve primarily as an incubator for new tech-related businesses. The Mobility Business Group will oversee operation of Chariot, the non-emergency medical transport business, FordPass digital services, and related fleet businesses. Two more groups, Mobility Platforms and Products and Mobility Marketing and Growth, will oversee design and marketing of new services, respectively.
Ford is hoping the reorganization will make it better positioned to profit off of the fast-evolving transportation landscape, including the eventual debut of a self-driving taxi service, delivering goods to people, and other shuttle services like Chariot, which uses crowdsourcing to determine where people needed rides. Ford acquired Chariot in 2016.