Ford has announced that it is making an USD 182.2 million investment in Pivotal, a cloud-based software platform company based in San Francisco, in order to help strengthen its expertise in software development and expedite the delivery of innovations to customers. The deal will be finalized after obtaining regulatory approvals.
This investment in Pivotal will help Ford transition into an auto and a mobility company. While Ford is focusing aggressively on its core business of designing, making, marketing, and servicing cars, the company also has gained an edge in dealing with new technologies such as mobility, self-driving cars, connectivity, data and analytics through Ford Smart Mobility – an initiative that involves funding projects in these emerging sectors.
Commenting on the investment in Pivotal, Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO said that expanding Ford’s business to be both an auto and mobility company calls for leading-edge software expertise in order to deliver outstanding customer experiences. The company expects its investment in Pivotal to strengthen its ability to deliver these customer experiences backed by Pivotal’s expertise in software development. Initially, the two companies will collaborate on the expansion of FordPass® – Ford’s digital, physical and personal mobility experience platform, which was launched last month. FordPass will offer new customer services, like parking, car sharing and accessing a vehicle remotely through a smartphone app. Pivotal and Ford IT engineers are now collaborating to create new consumer experiences for FordPass members.
Ford and Pivotal will expand their existing relationship by incorporating Pivotal’s advanced software development methodologies and technology across the IT, product development, and research and advanced engineering teams. Pivotal’s next-generation cloud platform and analytics capabilities twill be used in Ford’s new mobility projects like its on-demand Dynamic Shuttle pilot program.
“Today we are at a major inflection point in global business, and Pivotal is at the fulcrum of that change,” said Rob Mee, Pivotal CEO. “We are collaborating with iconic companies like Ford to help transform their businesses with our unique software development methodology and modern cloud platform and analytics tools. We are thrilled to create a deeper partnership with Ford through this investment as we drive its evolution to becoming both an auto and mobility company – reinventing yet again how the world moves.”
Ford already has a strong software capability that supported EcoBoost® engines, the SYNC® 3 connectivity system, and driver-assist technologies like active park assist. The partnership with Pivotal will complement this expertise and will ultimately contribute more technologies and innovations that will be of great benefit to Ford customers.
Software expertise has become increasingly important in the automotive industry with connectivity, driver assistance features and fuel economy becoming more important to customers. The all-new F-150 features more than 150 million lines of code, while a typical smartphone operating system has only 12 million lines. Using software, engineers now have more precise control over aspects of a vehicle’s performance like engine and transmission calibration to enhance the fuel economy and improve connectivity.
In fact, the success of Ford’s EcoBoost engine technology is mainly due to the software that allows engineers to maximize the use of each drop of fuel. Ford has 275 current patents and 200 pending patents on EcoBoost technology and most of them have been filed in relation to software controls and calibration.
“Investing in Pivotal builds on our current strengths in software development,” said Marcy Klevorn, Ford vice president and CIO, who will join the board of directors at Pivotal. “We plan to quickly add new state-of-the-art software engineering capabilities across the Ford enterprise.”
Ford and Pivotal also have plans to open new software labs which will be staffed by software architects, engineers and user experience experts in strategic locations across both the United States and Europe.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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