Ford Motor Company Moves Autonomous Technology Development Under New Unit

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【Summary】Things at Ford continue to change, as the American automaker now has a new Ford Next division that will focus on the development of technology for autonomous vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 02, 2022 6:50 AM PT
Ford Motor Company Moves Autonomous Technology Development Under New Unit

Ford CEO Jim Farley has made quite a few changes to the way the automaker does things since his arrival. Earlier this month, Ford essentially split the automaker into two branches with Ford Model e focusing on electric vehicles and Ford Blue working on models with an internal combustion engine. Now, Ford is doing something similar with its autonomous technology divisions.

Autonomous Tech Gets A New Home

According to a report by Bloomberg, Ford is looking to accelerate the development of its autonomous technology by forming a new division called Ford Next. Apparently, Farley formed Ford Next last year and put Franck Louis-Victor, a specialist in new businesses from Renault SA, at the head. The division includes the automaker's stake in Argo Ai, an autonomous startup, as well as Ford's self-driving unit that's called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. The main focus of Ford Next is to "develop startups in mobility services and other businesses."

This is another way for Farley to make Ford look more attractive to investors and the stock market that want traditional automakers to compete with tech companies. Creating a new division for all of Ford's autonomous technology does exactly that and helps Ford look more along the lines of Google's Waymo.

"This reflects a more nuanced rebranding and repositioning of an existing group, not creation of a new one or a significant structural shift," company spokeswoman Jennifer Flake said in an interview with Bloomberg. "It's our approach to the business model. You use it to foster innovation, you use it to actually incubate new business ideas."

Personnel Shakeup Is Happening

It goes beyond making a new division, too. Farley is also focusing on getting the right people into the organization. The CEO claims that staff that work on traditional internal combustion engines don't have the necessary skills to "succeed in the next era of transportation," leaving the automaker to look for new employees.

"You can't ask ICE people to do certain things, it takes too long," Farley said last month at a conference sponsored by Wolfe Research. "Ford will ensure we have the right structure and talent in place to compete and win."

While Ford Next will look into coming out with new businesses with other companies, we don't think this will have a massive change on vehicles that consumers can actually purchase. We expect Ford Next to be the hub to bring possible tech to production vehicles. 

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