Ford’s new Smart Mobility initiative has been drawing a lot of attention from the media, and it doesn’t take much to see why. The initiative is primarily focused on making advancements in autonomous vehicles and connected cars, and part of that involves delving into the world of cloud-based analytics. On Monday, Ford and IBM announced that they’re working on something called the Smart Mobility Experimentation Platform, a pilot platform that analyzes data in small chunks in order to find patterns, and then uses the information it gathers to help drivers make more efficient decisions. With help from IBM’s cloud services, the information can be constantly updated, and can help drivers by doing things like finding an empty parking space for them, or warning them about traffic jams on a specific route.
Ford announced a number of new initiatives today that all aim to make driving and owning a car a little bit easier for Ford and non-Ford drivers alike. At the core of these new programs is FordPass — which at first glance looks like it’s an OnHub on steroids (with an additional smartphone app). Among other things, this program will let you call so-called FordGuides for help with all of your mobility problems, including parking bookings, for example. In addition, it will feature a smartphone app that will also let you book and pay for parking, and earn perks for using it. The service will be available to anybody, including non-Ford drivers. That’s a smart branding move. As a part of this program, Ford also plans to open a couple of company-owned urban stores in New York, San Francisco, London and Shanghai. These are not company-owned dealerships, but more like Tesla’s mall stores where potential buyers can learn more about Ford, its vehicles and — increasingly — its services. “These aren’t places where we’re trying to sell something,” said Stephen Odell, Ford’s executive VP for Global Marking Sales and Service. “We want to hear people’s thoughts, and we want to show them what we’re doing to solve the transportation issues of today and tomorrow – and not just in their city, but around the world.” Ford also today announced that it is working with IBM to launch a new data analysis platform for analyzing transportation data. This new platform will use IBM’s cloud computing platform to analyze small slices of data to look for patterns and trends that could help drivers make better decisions about their driving — or whether they should maybe use another means of transportation.