Ford announces new mobility hub for London’s Olympic Park
13 June 2017
13 June 2017
Ford has announced it is to open a dedicated smart mobility innovation centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, which will focus on the development of ′near term’ mobility solutions to meet the needs of Europe’s major cities.
It follows the company embarking on a new direction in emerging auto spheres following the departure of former CEO Mark Fields, whose long term strategy had failed to convince investors. While the plan must have been in progress before Fields’ departure, new CEO Hackett was significantly previously part of the company’s Smart Mobility division, which could well lead to greater weight being placed behind the new London facility.
Ford says that the hub ′marks a new entrepreneurial approach’ for the company, allowing them to ′accelerate the development of new mobility solutions for Europe.’
The centre will be located on the Here East Campus, an innovation hub, which Steven Armstrong, Ford’s vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, says ′will allow us greater collaboration and the out-of-the-box thinking needed to tackle the urban transport challenges of tomorrow.’
He adds that the hub places their ′rapidly growing team in the heart of mobility innovation in London,’ allowing them to ′accelerate [their] learning and development of new technologies.’
The location places them right next to some of the UK’s finest talent, including the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which Ford has worked with on powertrain research and this year the plug-in hybrid Transit development, as well as the top-tier Plexal Innovation Centre and UCL Robotics, part of the world-leading University College London, which is planning a major new expansion into the Olympic Park.
Furthermore, Ford is highly likely to fully take advantage of the Olympic Park’s private road network for the testing of its mobility innovations, such as ride sharing services and autonomous driving.
The London location also allows Ford close proximity to its existing trials in London, including its plug-in hybrid transit fleet project launching later this year.
The new centre will have an initial capacity for around 40 specialists, but this is expected to rapidly expand. It is set to open later this year.
The London centre forms part of Ford’s Smart Mobility division alongside Ford Smart Mobility Greenfield Labs in Silicon Valley and at Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The new London centre is also the latest innovation centre for Ford to open, alongside their existing European Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany.
Image courtesy of Here East