Ford Settles on Detroit for New AV Operations Base, Creates New Division

The automaker created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC to focus on technology research, development and strategy.

by Dana Afana, / July 25, 2018

(TNS) — Ford Motor Company has created a new entity to run its autonomous vehicle operations from its new Corktown campus in Detroit, officials announced Tuesday.

Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC will include: self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams.

The company plans to invest $4 billion in its AV operations through 2023. Sherif Marakby, vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, will lead the organization as CEO and report to Marcy Klevorn, Ford's vice president of Mobility.

"Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain - from technology development to business model innovation to user experience," said Jim Hackett, president and CEO, Ford, in a news release.

"Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead."

Ford says its electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle, over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features.

The transition will create several management changes at Ford, which will be effective on Aug. 1.

Ted Cannis, global director of electrification, will lead Team Edison, the team responsible for developing next-generation electric vehicles.

The Global Operations division, led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs, will include information technology and the global order-to-delivery system.

"The evolution of computing power and IT have helped bring great products to customers - from cars to tablets," Hackett said.

"We can now harness this technology to unlock a new world of vehicle personalization, supply chain choreography and inventory leanness that rivals any industrial model in the world - and Joe's challenge is to help us redesign this system to do just that - while better serving customers and dealers and improving our overall fitness."

Hau Thai-Tang, vice president of product development and purchasing, will report to Hacket and will lead teams as Ford moves to a flexible vehicle architecture plan using body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheel-drive unibody, commercial van unibody and battery electric vehicles, according to a news release.

Ford aims to cut product development time by 20 percent.

©2018, Walker, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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