Ford has more to worry about than developing technology for autonomous cars. In a sense, those vehicles won’t really be driving themselves. They rely on Information about themselves, weather conditions and the position of other cars on the road. Ipso facto, cars must be connected in a network to communicate. And building that comprehensive connectivity network costs stacks of money and time.
- Ford owned Autonomic is partnering with Amazon, on of the world’s largest web service providers to serve the car industry.
- Autonomous cars will require huge amounts of data processing power, some in-car and some cloud based.
- Autonomic and Amazon are looking to provide data services for not only Ford, but other manufacturers as well.
- Legacy car makers are starting to see the writing on the wall, their futures might require relaying on revenue from more than just selling cars.
That’s why Ford owns Autonomic. Creators of the Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC), it provides a network for automakers to hook into. TMC crunches a car’s data in real time, as well as allows software developers access so they can design more features for drivers. Already with millions of vehicles on board, the company makes it easy to do business.
Ford And Autonomic Are Partnering With Amazon
TMC’s system isn’t proprietary, working with cloud-based software that most of mobile developers already know. So, if you’re developing a self-driving car, no matter you’re brand, TMC can accommodate. But, if Ford has the connectivity issue solved (or do they?), why then do they need Amazon?
Not many people know this, but Amazon is one of the biggest web services providers. While Amazon marketplace fell into the red zone for years before becoming profitable, it was Amazon web services (AWS) that turned a profit. More than a profit. CEO Jeff Bezos reaped a bonanza of cash.
AWS A Cloud For A Cloud
AWS serves up reliable and scalable cloud computing products and services, including servers, storage, networking, email, security, remote computing and mobile development. Netflix and Instagram host its websites with the company, and if they rely on it… you know the rest. And AWS is a behemoth, leaving its competitors in the dust. Let’s put that in perspective: it’s more than 10 times bigger than the second in command, Microsoft.
TMC specializes in putting up a cloud for the transportation industry, which is a niche network. Amazon is the big daddy and can optimize a cloud through its cloud. In other words, AWS will provide the massive computing power Ford Mobility and its company TMC will eventually need without having to divert resources into building that themselves. Ford says it chose AWS for its global availability, and the breadth and depth of its portfolio of services, including Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, analytics, and compute services.
TMC was already in collaboration with Amazon. This deal marks an expansion and more comprehensive partnership for Ford to move into the future.
“This marks the next stage of what has already been an immensely gratifying collaborative relationship with AWS,” said Gavin Sherry, co-founder and CEO of Autonomic. “One of the many goals we have in common is to build a cohesive framework for vehicle makers and developers, allowing them to focus on creating some of the best experiences for customers who use our connectivity systems.”
Is Ford The AWS For Automotive?
When you break it down, Ford is actually pulling an Amazon in the transportation world. It’s offering web services to other automakers, which is a lucrative business. As cars become more autonomous, they need access to ever increasing processed and reliable data. Autonomic, and thus Ford, are serving that up with AWS providing an assist.
Even AWS recognizes Ford’s shrewd play, while also getting in a plug for itself. “Autonomic customers will be able to bring innovative mobility services and differentiated customer experiences to their customers worldwide, by integrating TMC with AWS, the industry’s broadest and deepest cloud platform, said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “Such capabilities, together with AWS’s Partner Network community and broad customer base in Automotive, will help reimagine the future of the automobile industry.”
Will Autonomic become the cash cow for Ford, driving its revenue and profitability? I’m interested to see how that plays out.