Ford: Detroit, Electrification, and Autonomy
Ford Motor Co. is making a statement in a race that is based on lasting impressions, as much as it is based on substance. As announced last December, Ford "returns home to look forward". New information has emerged on Ford's commitment to Corktown, Detroit.
This is what you need to know:
1. Ford aims to relocate 2,500 specialists to their new autonomous and electric vehicle castle. [source: Crain's]
2. According to Bill Ford, the landmark will become a tool allowing Ford to recruit the best talent possible, a necessary ingredient in "winning the AV wars". I would argue this includes the EV wars: the new building will house EV specialists too and Bill Ford has already announced the company's plans to have 40 electrified vehicles out by 2022. If Ford's vision goes to plan, Detroit will become the main competitor for Silicon Valley, which currently attracts most of the US-based talent interested in tech. [sources: AP, Reuters]
3. Ford Motor aspires to have a Level 4 autonomous vehicle out by 2021.
4. The building will likely become house to more than Ford. Its capacity is estimated at 5000 and Ford Motor expects to occupy half of that space. Based on the information we have as of now, I would expect other AV/EV-motivated companies to move in with Ford. [Source: the Seattle Times]
5. Could Autonomic, recently acquired by Ford, be moving part of its operations from SF to Detroit? Their hiring for some positions in Detroit definitely suggests so.