Ford Motor Co. has established a new self-driving-vehicle business unit, and will invest $4 billion through 2023 to better organize and accelerate its efforts to commercialize autonomous vehicles, Ford has announced.
The $4 billion investment counts Ford's $1 billion investment in Argo AI that was announced in February of 2017. At the time, the company said it was hoping to introduce a fully autonomous ride-hailing vehicle by 2021. The new unit, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, is based at Ford's Corktown campus in Detroit. It will include Ford's self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering, autonomous vehicle transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy, and business development teams.
Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC will hold the ownership stake in Argo AI, which is based in Pittsburgh. Sherif Marakby will lead the new unit as its chief executive officer. He leaves his role as a vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification. He'll report to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, an executive vice president and president of mobility with Ford.
In a corresponding move, Ted Cannis will lead Team Edison — the team responsible for developing the company's next generation of battery-electric vehicles. Cannis remains the global director of electrification, while Team Edison continues to report to Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of global markets.
For is also realigning its information technology and global order-to-delivery teams under its global operations unit. The move will help the company accelerate the integration and application of technology across its industrial system to streamline manufacturing, speed vehicle delivery times, reduce inventories, and improve capital efficiency.
Ford is also developing a deeper product lineup of trucks, vans, and utility vehicles as it moves its focus away from passenger cars. The company is replacing three quarters of its lineup by 2020 and adding four new trucks and SUVs. Hai Thai-Tang, executive vice president of product development and purchasing, will now report to Jim Hackett, Ford's chief executive.
Ford is cutting vehicle development time by shifting to five flexible architechtures, including body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheel-drive unibody, commercial van unibody, and battery-electric vehicles.
"We're looking at every part of our business, making it more fit and ensuring that every action we take is driven by what will serve our customers in a way that supports our fitness and performance goals," Hackett said.
The organizational changes will go into effect on Aug. 1.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet