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Ford and Pivotal collaborate on software platform for FordPass

Ford is working with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider Pivotal to build a software platform supporting FordPass, announced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) (earlier post), that will enable the company to innovate rapidly and to iterate on new applications and mobility solutions for consumers.

FordPass, described as a free digital, physical and personal platform, is an ambitious new customer service product that incorporates software services and apps, human agents and storefronts and is intended to support the company’s strategic transformation into an auto and a mobility company. FordPass features four benefits for members: Marketplace includes mobility services such as parking and sharing; FordGuides help consumers move more efficiently; Appreciation, where members are recognized for their loyalty; and FordHubs, where consumers can experience Ford’s latest innovations.

FordPass also will allow Ford owners with SYNC Connect technology to remotely start, lock and unlock, and locate their vehicle—capabilities that will play a role in future mobility services.

With FordPass, we are making it easier for consumers, whether they own a Ford vehicle or not, to get where they need to go. Working with Pivotal, Ford will be able to rapidly add new features and adapt mobility solutions and services that benefit FordPass members in the ways that fit them best.Elena Ford, vice president, Global Dealer and Consumer Experience

By collaborating with Pivotal, Ford gains cutting-edge modern software development methodologies, next-generation cloud platform and analytics capabilities and knowledge. Pivotal and Ford IT engineers are working side-by-side to innovate in developing and designing new consumer experiences for FordPass members.

FordPass launches in April; membership is free for Ford vehicle owners and non-owners alike by registering online.

From experimentation to implementation. In the future, customers will be able to access both car-sharing and ride-sharing services via FordPass. Experimental work with Pivotal is now under way as teams are building the foundation for future applications and consumer experiences.

One of the first programs to result from the work is a Dynamic Shuttle service Ford is piloting for employees on its Dearborn, Michigan, campus. Dynamic Shuttle features smart ride-hailing technology with premium customized shuttles, applying insights from earlier experiments and research with urban commuters globally. The convenience of the service will allow employees to summon point-to-point rides on-demand.

With the pilot, once a mobile-based ride request is made, the Ford-developed software—including the algorithm that drives the platform’s technical capabilities—immediately determines the shuttle best suited to address the request without extending the travel time of riders already aboard. The rider is then sent an offer detailing proposed pick-up time and maximum duration of the trip. If the rider accepts the offer, the request is dispatched to the shuttle driver’s navigation interface, along with the most efficient route to complete the requests of all riders in the timeliest manner.

Another project Ford is working on is GoDrive, an on-demand public car-sharing pilot in London. The service offers customers flexible, practical and affordable access to a fleet of cars for one-way journeys with easy parking throughout the city. The pilot gives Londoners access to transportation through 50 cars positioned in 20 locations; one-way trips with guaranteed parking; pay-as-you-go, per-minute pricing that covers all fees; and availability of zero-emission Focus Electric cars.

Pilots ranging from on-demand shuttles to car-sharing services and more are some of the many potential applications of FordPass, with seamless integration into the smartphone app built on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry. The Pivotal Cloud Foundry is an enterprise PaaS, powered by Cloud Foundry. It delivers a turnkey experience for scaling and updating PaaS on the private cloud, with no downtime. Pivotal Cloud Foundry enables developers to provision and to bind web and mobile apps with a range of platform and data services on a unified platform.

Pivotal Cloud Foundry includes:

  • Elastic Runtime Service. A complete, scalable runtime environment, extensible to most modern frameworks or languages running on Linux. Deployed applications enjoy built-in services, and can automatically bind to new data services through a service broker or to an existing user provided service.

  • Operations Manager.Industry’s first turnkey enterprise PaaS management platform with IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) integration.

  • Mobile Services. A powerful set of consumer- grade, mobile backend services that accelerate mobile app development.

  • Data Services. Automatic application binding and service provisioning with platform integration for ease of creation and management of services with Pivotal Cloud Foundry including those provided by Pivotal and our vibrant ecosystem such as RabbitMQ, Pivotal HD, MySQL, Redis, MongoDB, ElasticSearch, RiakCS, Neo4J, etc.

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