Ford's Behind-the-Scenes Focus on Data

Ford's (NYSE: F) recent investments in self-driving-car company Autonomic to develop the "Transportation Mobility Cloud" is the start of a project that could have huge potential for the car company. The future focus on driverless-vehicle technology relies on the connection of cars, cities and people. The Transportation Mobility Cloud could be the platform that can make the concept a reality.

In this episode of Industry Focus: Energy, show host Sarah Priestley and Motley Fool contributor and senior auto specialist John Rosevear discuss this and other small-scale Ford projects that demonstrate the company's future potential to dominate in the world of automated driving and smart cities.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Jan. 11, 2018.

Sarah Priestley: One thing that they're doing that I think it's incredibly smart is, they're partnered with Autonomic to develop the Ford Transportation Mobility Cloud, which is connecting cities and cars together. This potentially has huge consequences, the biggest one being, a lot of these strategies and plans that people are envisioning are relying on this connected network of cars with cities and people and everything else. There has to be a platform, there has to be a singular platform that people are able to do that on. So if Ford does have a first mover advantage on setting up that kind of technology, that could be incredibly lucrative for them in the next 20 or 30 years.

John Rosevear: And even going back before Jim Hackett, you can see how Ford has been thinking about, how would we piece together a soup to nuts mobility offering, and go to a mayor of a city and say, "Adopt our system?" They have a bike sharing thing, they have crowd-sourced shuttle busses that look at where the bikes go in a city, and then they run these shuttle vans at a considerably lower cost than an Uber or a taxi on these routes. And it's all small scale right now. But they bought these businesses a couple of years ago, and you can see where they're starting to think about -- they have this app now called FordPass, which doesn't do a whole lot, but maybe seven years from now, FordPass will get you a bike, a ride on one of these Chariot shuttle buses, a Lyft, maybe, a car for the day, parking, and it's all done on FordPass, and it's all Ford branded. This seems to be where they're going. And if they can bring this cloud technology to the city, then it all operates, and that's a Ford city.

John Rosevear owns shares of Ford. Sarah Priestley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Ford. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.