Ford has taken a bet in Silicon Valley's Autonomic to be the basis for the automaker's future liberty efforts. In its shareholders report weekly, Ford said it was made an investment in Palo Alto-based Autonomic Inc. to create a foundation for future iterations of freedom solutions which will use Ford vehicles, such as its Chariot service which employs Transit trucks, within their organization's plan to move people through towns in every way, according to CEO Jim Hackett.
"The platform would allow us to build services, as well as others, because the platform would be open to cities and other services," Ford Smart Mobility communications manager Alan Hall told The Verge. "The layer that Autonomic provides is non-differentiated services." Along with Chariot, Ford has partnered recently with Dominos and Lyft, as well as a non-emergency health care support in Michigan to aid patients who do not drive. While not one of these services utilize an Autonomic platform now, Hall said it is possible future iterations will -- especially new solutions Ford expands across the nation.
Some of the men and women who had been involved with Autonomic were also involved in the evolution of Amazon Web Services, Hackett mentioned last week. Therefore, things like mapping, routing, payments, and identity authentication could be built into the platform that's then open sourced. However, an automaker for example Ford, with a wide variety of vehicles, will then provide the car that you're riding in.
"That's where we as Ford can provide the difference," Hall said. "We have the vehicle. We can provide it. We can modify it." An official statement will come soon, Hall said, but Ford is going its own way in regards to mobility. Beneath the curve group by General Motors and many others on sovereign drive, it truly is considering other ways of moving people around towns -- and also selling a couple more cars, trucks, and vans in the procedure.