Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett - Ford Inside News Community
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

an excuse for a new 'mobility' thread in advance of a possibly new approach?...

Ford’s Ideo Partnership Echoes CEO Jim Hackett’s Steelcase Strategy
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— Aaron Brzozowski — Sept 12, 2017


Ford’s small Greenfield Labs team in Silicon Valley is tasked with guiding the automaker’s future approach to ride-sharing, ride-hailing, shuttles, autonomous vehicles, and electrification. But the 40-member crew isn’t blazing a path into the unknown all by its lonesome; Ford’s Greenfield Labs has a partner in Silicon Valley design firm Ideo – the same company that designed the first computer mouse, and that Ford CEO Jim Hackett reached out to years ago while he was still at the helm of Michigan-based firm Steelcase.

In fact, much of Hackett’s strategy with regard to Greenfield Labs echoes his moves as CEO of the Grand Rapids office furniture company.

“This is 100 percent Jim,” says Ford’s Creative Director for its Greenfield-Ideo partnership. Greenfield Labs is “small and we’re nimble and we’re used to working very quickly. It’s easier for us to try ideas out.”

“Our mandate is Ford is in a transition from making cars to providing mobility,” he says. “Hopefully the way in which we work, we start to change some of how the rest of Ford thinks about how to approach those challenges.”

Ford’s Greenfield Labs was started by Hackett a year ago, when he was still CEO of Ford Smart Mobility LLC – Ford’s mobility-focused subsidiary. If the goal is nothing short of a complete reimagining of Ford’s mission statement, it could prove helpful to have the perspective of companies from outside of the industry. The Blue Oval already has partnerships with companies like Nirenberg Neuroscience, Velodyne LiDAR, and Argo AI to help with the technical aspects of mobility; the company’s partnership with Ideo will focus on the human use aspect.

“It’s an interesting approach to trying to figure out both the business models and the user experience for mobility as a service,” says Navigant Research analyst Sam Abuelsamid. “Ford, like other [automakers], has been selling cars in the same way for over a century. But as the market makes its likely shift to services, they need to figure out how customers are going to interact those services and with the vehicles. Partnering with Ideo may help them get some fresh ideas to try out.”

(Source: The Detroit News)

- - - - - - -

Silicon Valley outpost offers lens into Hackett’s Ford
The Detroit News
— Ian Thibodeau — Sept 11, 2017


San Francisco — For a glimpse into how Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett thinks, look to the team of engineers inside the Blue Oval’s Greenfield Labs not far from here. It’s rethinking how people might use transportation in the future.

“Our mandate is Ford is in a transition from making cars to providing mobility,” said Jonah Houston, creative director for Ford’s Greenfield partnership with Ideo, a design firm based in Silicon Valley. “Hopefully the way in which we work, we start to change some of how the rest of Ford thinks about how to approach those challenges.”

That’s Hackett’s point. Changing the way the 114-year-old company thinks, how it works and how quickly it moves are critical challenges — and the driving force behind the board-level decision in May to oust former CEO Mark Fields and replace him with Hackett.

Companies like Ford and General Motors Co. are using research facilities, partnerships and acquisitions to grow their respective footprints in Silicon Valley as the century-old automakers push to make a lot more than cars. The multitude of moves are designed to expose the Detroit automakers to high-tech players and tap valuable research in the country’s cradle of innovation.

And with Hackett scheduled to brief the United Auto Workers, Wall Street and Ford employees on his vision for the company over the next month, those looking for early cues on how the new CEO will run the company could look to his west coast ventures. They might learn something.

Ford’s approach to establishing mobility services — ride-sharing, bike-sharing, shuttle services and ride-hailing programs — as well as autonomous vehicles and electrification is guided at Greenfield Labs by a thought borrowed from Ideo: “design thinking,” which basically means products are conceived according to how customers will use them.

Hackett, a man who calls late Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs one of his personal heroes, started Greenfield Labs in Silicon Valley a year ago when he was head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC. That arm of the company is responsible for autonomous and electric vehicles, for ride-sharing, ride-hailing and bike-sharing, for delivering innovation in transportation.

“This is 100 percent Jim,” Houston told The Detroit News. “We’re small and we’re nimble and we’re used to working very quickly. It’s easier for us to try ideas out.”

The partnership between Ford and Ideo, a design firm based in Palo Alto, replicates what Hackett did years ago as CEO of Steelcase Inc. He needed to keep the Grand Rapids-based office furniture company afloat, so he looked to the Silicon Valley company to help change its business.

The quick-moving, 40-person Greenfield Labs team experiments with business strategies Ford could use to lay the groundwork for future products, such as the autonomous vehicles it plans to bring to market by 2021. Together, the companies want to augment pedestrian movement along streets in a city’s transportation ecosystem, not disrupt it.

“But for today, we haven’t gathered together to start working on that problem,” Hackett said during Ford’s City of Tomorrow symposium held last month in San Francisco. “What we’re trying to change at Ford is we need all of these perspectives at Ford to design a more fit model.”

And industry experts say the Ideo partnership will at the very least bring new eyes to the automaker’s view of the future. “It’s an interesting approach to trying to figure out both the business models and the user experience for mobility as a service,” said Sam Abuelsamid, analyst with Navigant Research. “Ford, like other (manufacturers), has been selling cars in the same way for over a century.

“But as the market makes its likely shift to services, they need to figure out how customers are going to interact those services and with the vehicles. Partnering with Ideo may help them get some fresh ideas to try out.”

The Greenfield Labs team aims to apply the Ideo design process to Ford’s mobility solutions. They focus on bringing products to market that address a human need — in this case, getting from here to there more efficiently — in the most basic, ergonomic and innovative way possible. Teams arrive at conclusions by studying how someone might react to seeing an autonomous vehicle on a road, for example, or what kind of bicycles would benefit certain neighborhoods for a bike share program.

“We want to bring human-centered design into the conversation about how Ford scales their mobility services,” Houston said. “How do you create a service that has people at the center and not just profit?

“We helped Jim transform Steelcase from a hardware manufacturer to a company that supports work. We’ve kind of been through this rodeo once before, but obviously the scale is absurdly larger.

Silicon Valley outposts are attempts by automakers to be more attractive to younger technical engineers on the coast. They also open historically closed doors within the auto companies, according to multiple analysts. West coast operations won’t guarantee innovation, but planting flags here signals a fundamental change in the industry.

“The car companies’ natural instinct for most of their history has not been to rely on other companies,” said Karl Brauer, analyst with Kelley Blue Book. “It’s important to stake your claim and get into this (mobility) area as early as possible. They’re so desperate on that, they’re willing to give up some level of control.”

Expansion here is happening across the industry. GM is juggling a few different approaches on the west coast. Kevin Kelly, a GM spokesman, said the company is taking a “three-pronged” approach to mobility services that opens options to build, buy or partner on any new product or service.

GM Ventures is a small team responsible for finding startups and partners, companies to invest in or to acquire outright. That team is responsible for finding San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, now a subsidiary of the company that GM bought a year ago to help with autonomous vehicle software development. GM now employs 250 people in downtown San Francisco through Cruise. The company plans to increase that to 1,100 over the next five years.

Such moves could pay dividends.

“The smartest thing would be for one company to be doing both partnerships and a sort of think tank,” Brauer said. “The company that wins this race is going to be one that effectively coordinates a collaboration of entities.”

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 08:22 PM
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

"Ford’s approach to establishing mobility services — ride-sharing, bike-sharing, shuttle services and ride-hailing programs — as well as autonomous vehicles..."

Maybe Ford's Mobility concept does nothing for me because it does not meet any of my mobility wants or needs. I don't live in an overcrowded city and want to drive my own car, don't want to share it with strangers, and don't want to take a smelly taxi. And no I am not sharing my $600 bike either...lol

But it does make me wonder if much of Ford's 'mobility' concept is more designed around developing countries where it's more cost effective for Ford to offer ride 'sharing' than develop, manufacture and sell sub-entry level automobiles, especially those with unstable economies or where there is overpopulation.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 12:29 AM
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloggin View Post
"Ford’s approach to establishing mobility services — ride-sharing, bike-sharing, shuttle services and ride-hailing programs — as well as autonomous vehicles..."

Maybe Ford's Mobility concept does nothing for me because it does not meet any of my mobility wants or needs. I don't live in an overcrowded city and want to drive my own car, don't want to share it with strangers, and don't want to take a smelly taxi. And no I am not sharing my $600 bike either...lol

But it does make me wonder if much of Ford's 'mobility' concept is more designed around developing countries where it's more cost effective for Ford to offer ride 'sharing' than develop, manufacture and sell sub-entry level automobiles, especially those with unstable economies or where there is overpopulation.
This mobility thing is what distracted Ford from its core business in the first place. Issues like the PowerShift transmission was left to linger until it virtually killed Ford's small car sales in markets where it were slowly making their mark.

Incomplete lineup, the models are there, they just refuse to offer them. Again the Asian carmakers took advantage of Ford's absence in these important segments.

Ford only seems to care about Rangers and SUVs in Asia-Pacific, no matter how good they sell, the volume overall is smaller than their competitors due to limited offerings.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 12:58 AM
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

Ride share could be interesting.
Think of Airbnb opportunities. I could find a car to borrow for the weekend on my phone that is near me. Or perhaps a pickup or sports car. Or I fly to an airbnb location that includes a car. Or, I fly and borrow a car nearby.

Quite interesting. I wonder how insurance coverage would work.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

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Originally Posted by wingsnut View Post
Ride share could be interesting.
Think of Airbnb opportunities. I could find a car to borrow for the weekend on my phone that is near me. Or perhaps a pickup or sports car. Or I fly to an airbnb location that includes a car. Or, I fly and borrow a car nearby.

Quite interesting. I wonder how insurance coverage would work.
speaking of insurance - can't help but wonder about an AirBnB & car... ...in the Florida Keys last weekend

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-14-2017, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

a possibly 'new' approach?

“Seat Suits” Help Ford Study Autonomous Vehicle, Human Communication
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- Michael Cantu - September 13, 2017

A few weeks ago, a “self-driving” Ford Transit Connect was caught testing around Arlington, Virginia. But there was something very strange about this supposed autonomous car–there was someone behind the wheel disguised as the driver’s seat. The sighting raised many questions. Was it a prank? Some kind of study? Now we have our answer.

Ford is disguising its drivers as car seats in an effort to study how autonomous vehicles can communicate with humans in real-world situations. In a partnership with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the two organizations are testing a method for communicating an autonomous vehicle’s intent to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers when operating on public roads.

“We need to solve for the challenges presented by not having a human driver, so designing a way to replace the head nod or hand wave is fundamental to ensuring safe and efficient operation of self-driving vehicles in our communities,” said Ford’s human factors technical specialist, John Shutko.

After rejecting the use of displayed text and symbols, the team agreed that lighting signals are the most effective for creating a visual communications protocol between self-driving cars and humans. Researchers want the lighting signals to indicate whether the vehicle is on autonomous drive mode, beginning to yield, or about to accelerate from a stop.

Ford equipped a light bar at the top of a Ford Transit Connect’s windshield and had the driver wear a “seat suit” in order to simulate a fully self-driving vehicle without actually deploying unmanned cars, something currently not allowed on public roads. This is crucial to test and evaluate real-world encounters, behaviors, and reactions between humans and what they think is a self-driving car.

The researchers tested three light signals: Two white lights moving side to side indicate when the vehicle is about to yield to a full stop, rapidly blinking white lights will appear when the vehicle is about to accelerate from a stop, and solid white lights mean the vehicle is operating autonomously.

The autonomous-looking Transit Connect van was driven on public roads in northern Virginia throughout the month of August and recorded over 150 hours of data over 1,800 miles of driving using numerous cameras mounted on the van that provided a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, capturing the behavior and responses of pedestrians and drivers. The lighting signals were activated more than 1,650 times at various locations around Arlington, Virginia, including intersections, parking lots, garages, airports, and many other locations. Ford hopes to create a standard communication language between self-driving vehicles and humans on the road.

So it turns out there was a scientific reason for dressing like a car seat. But the study still got Arlington residents pretty good. A local news reporter even went up to the van, trying to communicate with the disguised driver who just sped off without reacting or saying a word. Nice work, Ford and Virginia Tech. You punked an entire city and did science at the same time.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

got an email from Fomoco
Subject: Redesigning city streets
Date: Sep 14, 2017 1:02 PM
Fun fact: In urban areas, streets take up 30 percent of all available space. But most of that space is reserved for cars, not people.
That's why we're questioning everything we know about urban roads.
Greenfield Labs  —  a Ford Smart Mobility research and innovation team in partnership with IDEO  — is asking how we can design a better city street that serves businesses, pedestrians and drivers alike.
Our first question: What's the value of current street space?
Let's hit the streets,
The Ford Social Team
Social.FORD.com
It’s Time City Streets Match Our Societal Values

Erica Klampfl, Greenfield Labs Director, Ford Smart Mobility, and
Ruth McLachlin, Design Researcher, Greenfield Labs, Ford Smart Mobility
big, illustrative pix @ site

Make your way down a city street in various parts of the world and you will undoubtedly experience something different from one to the next. Some might have four lanes for traffic; some might be lined with high-rises. Others might be gravel or have traffic flowing in only one direction.

While no two streets are the same, almost all share the same simple purpose: to support the movement and storage of vehicles.

Look at photographs from the early 1900s and you’ll see people using multiple forms of transportation — horse, car, bike or walking — on the same street. There are open air cafes and street vendors. Fast-forward 50 years and cars had overtaken streets, forcing pedestrians and bikers to the sides. And today, even as more city residents opt not to drive for their daily trips, it’s clearer than ever that our streets are mainly for cars — not people.

But America’s streets are where life happens. In urban communities, streets comprise 30 percent of all space. They are an economic generator, an area for social activity and a conduit for everything that moves. Shouldn’t we design and manage our streets with these values in mind?

This is one of the many questions we set out to answer when we created Greenfield Labs last year. At Greenfield Labs — a Ford Smart Mobility research and innovation team in partnership with IDEO — we don’t take streets at their face value. We are questioning everything that is considered “fact” when it comes to what streets are able to become in the future.

We believe cities need to balance public good and business needs — making people feel happy, safe, and connected, while enabling the efficient flow of business. We are looking at how streets could be designed so that they serve a variety of functions and needs for all: people walking, people biking, people who own and use businesses, private and public vehicle usage, relaxation, exercise, connecting with others, and of course, the commerce and services that underpin their economies.

For example, people who bike — like all human beings — value feeling safe, which for many requires some separation between the roadway and bike path, so what if we took parking spaces and transformed them into bike lanes? Green spaces in many cities are relegated to parks, but what if we created micro forests alongside bus lanes to help clean the air?

We believe there are certain facets of human and city life that most of us hold in high esteem and want to bring with us into the future. These facets include taking time to notice the people, life, the unexpected and serene in our environment; the ability to slow down, change our mind, try something new or even make mistakes, particularly when it comes to transportation (after all, who doesn’t like to occasionally explore the road less traveled?); and the thoughtful inclusion of all perspectives when it comes to the never-ending creative process of building a city. These facets are reflected in some of our work, which is now coming to life.

Greenfield Labs, in conjunction with Gehl, a company that focuses on people-centered urban design, came together earlier this year to start a project called National Street Service. The project’s mission is to preserve and enhance the life, economy and mobility of the American street.

One of the project’s early initiatives centered on finding the value of current street space. The team looked at the cost to maintain the street and enforce rules for the space — for example parking enforcement — to see if it outweighed the potential benefits of using that space for something else. Examples include using the space to put in a bike path or even a garden for fresh fruits or vegetables.

What did we find? In San Francisco, the cost to maintain one metered parking space — some $729 annually — could pay for 291 residents to use the city’s Muni metro system. And if one parking lane was transformed into a sidewalk, 7,200 more people could move by walking every hour; if it was transformed into a moving traffic lane, 1,600 more people could move via car every hour.

We know it’s a radical to suggest that what is a parking space today could be a garden tomorrow, but we need to be provocative to start to change the mindset around what a street could and should be. Let’s face it, anyone who has spent time in any city around the world knows just how horrific traffic can be, whether in their car or trying to enjoy a night out on the town by foot, and probably believes there’s little to nothing to be done about it. But at Greenfield Labs, we believe we can help facilitate change for the better.

After all, in cities like San Francisco or New York, where a large percentage of households don’t even own cars, why should one-third of a city street be dedicated to parked vehicles?

As we think about the future in large, thriving cities and how we can reimagine our streets, we need to realize that municipalities have finite resources and finite space. These are precious resources that need to be carefully allocated to deliver the highest good. So we need to consider all the tradeoffs we make when we dedicate space for parking instead of more sidewalk space or public parks.

Only then can we imagine a world where our streets reflect our values.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 09:31 AM
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

It is not the fault of the streets, but the fault of city planners. Buildings are not set-off from the streets enough in many cases, and there are always special projects with kick-backs to polititions, if there is ever anything in the way.


I'm sure out west, this would be easier to do. Most every city west of the appalacians had their streets measured and laid out North/South, and East/West. I live north of Baltimore, and I can tell you that getting out of there is a mess (I seldon go, and when I do, I use the light rail, which runs on the roads at points, has to stop at red lights, and takes 3 times as long to get there. It loses huge amounts of money each year).


Many of the roads were created by farmers to get their crops to the port. Rolling roads were made to actually roll Tobacco in these massive hogsheads to the port. Many roads leading to the city were old native american paths or were made to get from town to town, usaully following beside rivers. The railroad made matters worse in the 19th century, and they still own right of ways.
It would be easier just to tear it down and start over, but tracking down who owns all the dilapidated hosues and empty lots would be more expensive to pursue than it is worth.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-15-2017, 10:09 AM
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Re: Mobility: SiliconValley's Ideo & Ford’s GreenfieldLabs partner via Mr. Hatchett

Ford will not make mobility. They will still make cars and trucks, vehicles that break down and need maintenance and parts.

It's old-school; engineering and manufacturing.

Dearborn had better not forget that.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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aNother mobility partnership... Not Calder / maybe via Mr. Hatchett?

Ford Partners With Lyft To One Day Press Self-Driving Cars Into Service
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— Aaron Brzozowski — Sept 27, 2017

Ford Motor Company today announced a partnership with transportation network company Lyft to work toward one day putting fully-autonomous, self-driving Ford vehicles into service within the Lyft network. The announcement is an impactful one for a couple of big reasons: Lyft is the primary competitor to Uber, which is developing its very own autonomous-vehicle technology for eventual widespread deployment; and Lyft struck a partnership with Ford rival General Motors early in 2016, which included a $500-million investment in Lyft and the promise that both companies could benefit by making progress in ride-sharing and autonomous-vehicle technology.

Until Ford’s self-driving cars are ready for prime time, the focus of its partnership with Lyft will be in integrating its own transportation network software with Lyft’s, and ensuring that it can work with other networks in the future. To that end, programmers from both companies are already working on enabling each company’s software to communicate with the other’s, and in the future, Ford will deploy human-driven cars through the Lyft service to test the Ford platform’s ability to interface with the Lyft network.

“The goal is that customers using Lyft won’t notice any difference in their experience,” wrote Ford VP of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification Sherif Marakby in a blog post. Delivering compatibility with other transportation networks in the future ought to become that much easier as a result.

Ford and Lyft will attempt to answer other questions with their partnership, as well, such as: With which cities should the two companies work to provide autonomous rides to customers, and what infrastructure will be necessary to service and maintain a self-driving fleet? The partnership should prove mutually beneficial as Ford can profit from Lyft’s large customer network, growing demand, and “strong knowledge of transportation flow within cities,” Markaby writes, while Lyft benefits from Ford’s autonomous-vehicle tech expertise and large-scale manufacturing. Both are well-acquainted with big data and with fleet management.

It will still be some years before we see a production autonomous car from Ford hit the streets – 2021, if the automaker’s own estimates are to be believed. But when that happens, chances are good that your first encounter will be set up through Lyft.

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