Ford Pilots Ride-Hailing Program That Sounds a Lot Like Uber

The Ford blue oval badge is seen in the grill of a 2015 Ford F-150 XLT.

The Ford blue oval badge is seen in the grill of a 2015 Ford F-150 XLT.

Ford is piloting a ride-hailing service that could one day compete with Uber, proving the legacy automaker is looking for new ways to position itself in the ever-evolving automotive world.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker announced on Thursday it will pilot a ride-hailing service for its employees, called Dynamic Shuttle, using smart ride-hailing technology to allow them to travel throughout the Ford campus.

The goal is to leverage insights from the pilot program, which could one day be scaled into a larger service, positioning Ford to compete with ride-hailing giant Uber.

“Dynamic Shuttle is a major step forward on Ford’s mobility journey, which is designed to lead the company to develop truly innovative and disruptive ideas for diminishing traffic congestion and making public transit more convenient and accessible,” Ken Washington, vice president of Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering, said in a statement.

Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News that Ford “may not be as well financed as some tech companies in this space, but they have a substantial global footprint, plus more than 110 years experience in personal transportation.”

“Ford is putting a lot of focus on alternative transportation options, both in the U.S. and globally,” he said. “Their ability to leverage existing and future product development around changing consumer needs gives them an advantage in terms of real-world testing in numerous markets.”

Ford didn’t give any more specifics about its future plans following the pilot program, but it’s clear the automaker’s executives are carefully watching the ride-hailing business, which is currently being led by Uber. Bloomberg estimated the company to be worth a staggering $62.5 billion.

“Our vision is to be a mobility service provider, beyond building a vehicle that would be in somebody else’s fleet,” Washington said, according to Reuters. “We see this as a business we want to be in.”

Categories: National News