Ford sees partnerships as path to all-connected future

Oct. 29, 2014
  Dana Point, CA. Don Butler, executive director, connected vehicle and services for Ford Motor Company, took the stage this afternoon at the Telogis Logistics 2014 conference to talk about Ford’s vision for the future—including an increasing presence in the commercial market segment and innovative mobility solutions. The company also displayed a new aluminum cab Ford F150 pick-up, tipping the scales at some 700 pounds less than its heavier steel cab siblings.

Dana Point, CA. Don Butler, executive director, connected vehicle and services for Ford Motor Company, took the stage this afternoon at the Telogis Latitude 2014 conference to talk about Ford’s vision for the future—including an increasing presence in the commercial market segment and innovative mobility solutions. The company also displayed a new aluminum cab Ford F150 pick-up, tipping the scales at some 700 pounds less than its heavier steel cab siblings.

When it comes to mobility solutions, Butler noted, we understand that Ford will be part of this solution, but not all of it. We need to look at the right partners, such as Telogis, he said.

Butler explained that Ford sees three facets of connectivity: “brought-in, built-in and beamed-in.” “Connectivity needs to be all-encompassing,” he noted. “Everyone wants to be connected. [The question is] how do you do that in a safe way?”

Ford’s solution is an open source one that takes advantage of all the applications and functionality already available on smart phones [and other mobile devices] and connects it to the vehicle via a “smart device link.”  “We want to have interaction in-cab with applications on smart phones,” he said.

In the mid-term, that means expanded in-vehicle connections, stewardship of data for customers and value creation, Butler noted. By stewardship, we mean protection of data for customers and also creating value from that data, but only with the informed consent of customers.  In the longer term, he added, we are looking at fully integrated communications, including vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure—and it will get better over time.

“What we are really talking about is the integration of Cloud and Client,” Butler said. “[When you think about it,] a vehicle is really the largest ‘wearable’ technology.

“By 2050, or earlier, we will have a true, seamless, multi-modal transportation system,” he predicted. Many Fleet Owner readers will be on hand in 2050 to see for themselves if this preview of the future proves accurate.

About the Author

Wendy Leavitt

Wendy Leavitt joined Fleet Owner in 1998 after serving as editor-in-chief of Trucking Technology magazine for four years.

She began her career in the trucking industry at Kenworth Truck Company in Kirkland, WA where she spent 16 years—the first five years as safety and compliance manager in the engineering department and more than a decade as the company’s manager of advertising and public relations. She has also worked as a book editor, guided authors through the self-publishing process and operated her own marketing and public relations business.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in English and Art History from Western Washington University, where, as a graduate student, she also taught writing.  

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