Taxi companies are really screwed if this goes through.
When it comes to ridesharing apps, Uber is the king of the castle. The app isn't without controversy, as cabbies across the globe have revolted against the idea of private citizens turning their vehicles into unlicensed taxis. Despite the controversy Uber has a ton of cash and a current valuation of around $50 billion. Ford seems to want a piece of that pie and may roll out its own ridesharing technology. This bombshell was dropped by Ken Washington, Ford's vice president of research, in an interview with Automotive News (AN).
Washington spoke to AN during a media event to promote a new program that will allow workers at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan, campus to get rides from one building to another using their smartphones. Currently the only cars participating in the program are specially built Ford Transit vans. Still, the automaker is eyeing a wider roll out sometime in the future. "Our vision is to be a mobility service provider, beyond building a vehicle that would be in somebody else's fleet. We see this as a business we want to be in," Washington told Automotive News. Competing with the likes of Uber and Lyft will be tough to do, but Ford (and all other automakers) has an advantage in that the company manufactures automobiles.
Washington says this gives them an edge as they can design cars with built-in software to connect riders and drivers. We believe Ford would be wise to venture into the world of ridesharing apps. The risk is minimal in that the automaker would only be developing new software, not vehicles. If everything works out it could collect extra money from drivers utilizing their new Focuses and Escapes to shuttle folks around town. If it fails then all they'd have to do is stop supporting the software and eat the financial losses associated with rolling it out. Here's hoping that if the software does ever come to life that it will be featured on the new Ford GT. Because why the hell not?