Ford is returning to its roots as the company looks to its future with the move of its key autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle business and strategy teams to Detroit in early 2018.
The teams, including Team Edison, are moving to a recently refurbished 45,000-ft2 historic industrial complex known as The Factory in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. According to the company, the Motor City location will enable Ford teams to immerse themselves in urban mobility challenges and solutions. Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, will lead the Corktown team.
“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, in a release. “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.”
“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 Executive Chairman Bill 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.”
Ford says it 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.
Additionally, Team Edison is focused on fostering partnerships with other companies to deliver smart solutions, following Ford’s global lead. Ford recently created an electric vehicle partnership with Zotye, creating Zotye Ford Automobile Co., a 50-50 joint venture that will offer a range of stylish and affordable electric vehicles for consumers in China.
Ford 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 knowledge with Argo AI’s robotics experience and startup speed on artificial intelligence software.
According to the release, Ford says its autonomous vehicle business centers around deploying self-driving vehicles in partnership with companies that serve the movement of both people and goods. Working with these partners, such as Lyft and Domino’s Pizza, 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.