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Ford Moving its Self-Driving & EV Teams Back to Detroit

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【Summary】Ford Motor Company today announced plans to move its key autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle business and strategy teams to the city where the company got its start —Detroit, Michigan.

Eric Walz    Dec 14, 2017 5:19 PM PT
Ford Moving its Self-Driving & EV Teams Back to Detroit

DETROIT — Ford Motor Company today announced plans to move its key autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle business and strategy teams to the city where the company got its start —Detroit, Michigan.

Ford is moving the teams to a historic building known as The Factory, located in Detroit's historic Corktown neighborhood. The recently refurbished industrial complex has a rich 110-year history. The new location, which will be up and running early next year, will enable Ford's engineering teams to immerse themselves in urban mobility challenges and solutions.

"We're excited to choose this inspirational location in one of Detroit's resurgent neighborhoods to accelerate our work on electric and autonomous vehicles," said Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO. "This move and our exciting Dearborn campus transformation are important steps as we move toward our aspiration to become the world's most trusted mobility company – designing smart vehicles for a smart world."

Corktown is Detroit's oldest neighborhood and derives its name from immigrants from County Cork, Ireland who settled there.

"Returning to Detroit is particularly meaningful, because it is where my great-grandfather originally set out to pursue his passion and where we have always called our home," said Ford. "We are planting a special piece of our company's future in one of the city's great neighborhoods, because we believe in Detroit, its people and what we can build together."

Ideal Location to Work on Urban Challenges for Self-Driving Cars

The move is more than a relocation – it's a strategic decision aligned with a mission, Ford says. The company is committed to helping improve the entire system of transporting people and goods, especially in cities facing major challenges such as congestion, pollution, accidents and other transportation issues that affect everything from productivity to quality of life.

The Corktown relocation means Ford employees will be working in the heart of these challenges, experiencing life firsthand in one of the nation's burgeoning urban neighborhoods.

Focus On Autonomous & Electric Vehicles

The team in Corktown will be led by Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification. Marakby is a Ford veteran who first joined the company in 1990.

Ford is focused on driving its electric vehicle business forward, both with hybrid vehicles and full battery-electric vehicles with research led by Ford's Team Edison. The team is working to accelerate both the development and adoption of electric vehicles.

Team Edison also is focused on fostering partnerships with other companies. Ford recently created an electric vehicle partnership with Zotye, creating Zotye Ford Automobile Co., a 50-50 joint venture that will offer affordable electric vehicles for consumers in China.

Ford already has a variety of active partnerships related to the future of mobility. With Ford's $1 billion investment in Argo AI, the company is advancing autonomous vehicle development by combining its autonomous vehicle expertise with Argo AI's robotics experience and startup speed on artificial intelligence software. Ford is conducting research and building out the infrastructure that will help in determining the design of the self-driving vehicle and the customer experience it will enable.

Planned for production beginning in 2021, Ford's first autonomous vehicle is an all-new hybrid-electric vehicle with self-driving capability. It will be optimized to meet the needs of Ford's partners, including Lyft, to enhance and grow their business operations.

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