Ford Buying Urban Shuttle Startup Chariot
Smart Mobility Unit Acquiring California-Based Startup
Funding, launching, or buying startups seems to be all the rage these days with corporations, none more so than automakers, which are scrambling to position themselves as leaders in the so-called “smart mobility” revolution. Ford’s recently created Smart Mobility unit is acquiring Chariot, a San Francisco–based shuttle service. In addition to its launch market, Chariot is expected to launch in five other metropolitan areas within the next 18 months. Chariot currently operates approximately 100 Ford Transit shuttles serving 28 routes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The Chariot concept aims to fill the gap between taxi and ride-on-demand services and municipal bus services by providing a shared on-demand, point-to-point transportation service.
Ford is also partnering with Bay Area–based company Motivate, a bike-sharing company. The aim is to increase the number of shared bikes in the Bay Area to 7,000 by the end of 2018. The network will be accessible through the FordPass program, a transportation app available to all smartphone users. Both programs will fall under the purview of the company’s City Solutions team that works with cities and municipalities worldwide to expand availability of smart mobility solutions.
Projections show as much as 60 percent of the world population living in urban areas by 2030, potentially exacerbating already serious congestion in many areas but also opening up opportunities for unconventional approaches to transportation and mobility.