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Ford uses innovation to help combat growing global transportation challenges

Ford uses innovation to help combat growing global transportation challenges

At the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Cologne, Germany, Ford highlighted how it's using innovative technology to help solve today's growing global transportation challenges and change the way the world moves.

The carmaker announced its Ford Smart Mobility plan to foster innovation, which will take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data. Ford also announced 25 mobility experiments that will take place across the globe this year, in order to test transportation ideas to create better customer experiences, more flexible user-ship models and social collaboration that can reward customers.

Nine of the 25 experiments will take place in Europe and Africa, eight in North America, seven in Asia and one in South America. Each experiment is designed to anticipate what customers will want and need in tomorrow's transportation ecosystem.

"Even as we showcase connected cars and share our plans for autonomous vehicles, we are here at CES with a higher purpose," said Ford President and CEO Mark Fields. "We are driving innovation in every part of our business to be both a product and mobility company and, ultimately, to change the way the world moves just as our founder Henry Ford did 111 years ago."

The 25 experiments address four global megatrends  explosive population growth, an expanding middle class, deteriorating air quality, public health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities  challenging today's transportation model and limiting personal mobility, especially in urban areas. Fourteen of the 25 experiments are Ford-led research projects and 11 are part of the company's Innovate Mobility Challenge Series.

London will be the site of several Ford pilot projects that will test different ways of alleviating congestion in dense urban areas, including car-sharing, parking, and shuttle service projects.

London-based research experiments include "City Driving On-Demand" - designed to help understand what is needed for a high-quality, more flexible, and integrated car-sharing scheme, as well as "Data Driven Insurance" - This will involve monitoring individual vehicle use with the potential to create a personalised insurance quote and reduce insurance costs.

Further tests will consist of "Dynamic Social Shuttle" - A new on-demand vehicle ride service offering one-way point-to-point journeys, and "Painless Parking" - developed with a local authority, the new smartphone app service can assist drivers in finding a suitable parking space based on their profile preferences, the real-time parking situation in their target locale, and their GPS location.

Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe, added: "At Ford, we are open to smarter ways of keeping the world moving freely, for the benefit and progress of all. Changing the way we think, collaborate and behave is essential to ensuring freedom of movement of both people and economies. It is very unlikely that there is a single one-size-fits-all solution to mobility issues. Right now, we're at the research phase  testing and refining projects so that we can find out what works, and develop smarter ways of ensuring freedom of movement for all."

by: Sophie Williamson-Stothert