Looks like Ford motor company is continuing to take aggressive steps towards it’s evolution from a car maker to a full fledged mobility firm. The company is now moving to expand the services it offers through Chariot.
Chariot, a San Francisco based on-demand shuttle service, acquired by Ford as part of it’s Smart Mobility division in September last year, has announced that as part of it’s ambitious expansion plans, it will be launching it’s ride sharing services in eight more cities by the end of 2017. The eight will include a city outside it’s US market.
Less than a month after being acquired by Ford’s Smart Mobility division, the company opened shop in Austin, which as per the company ‘was a natural fit for Chariot’s first expansion, with a high rate of economic growth and a dash of crippling rush-hour traffic congestion.‘ Chariot operates 100 Ford Transit shuttles along 28 routes in the Bay Area. It chooses routes by collecting votes from potential riders, but Ford also said it will move to a more complex algorithm in the future. The goal of a service like this is to fill the gap between taxi and bus services, which are often woefully inadequate for point-to-point transportation in some cities.
Chariot crowdsources its routes as well as its pickup and drop-off locations. The mobile app lets users reserve seats, buy passes and check estimated time of arrivals.
Chariot also initiated a pilot project in Lake Tahoe, where it provided holiday transit services in and around the Alpine Meadows ski resort from December 23 to January 4 free of cost.
Ford is looking to expand it’s footprint in terms of overall reach and consumer base by stepping up its efforts to work on transportation issues in global cities. It is betting on a future of emerging transportation modes, where owning a car may not be viable and Chariot will play a pivotal role in alleviating congestion in cities across the globe. It might as well be noted that most major companies accept the role self driving cars might play in the future, and the Detroit-based Ford itself intends to roll out an autonomous ride sharing vehicle by 2021.
We’ve been witnessing a lot of action in the self driving autonomous car space of late. Both Intel and Nvidia have joined the list of tech behemoths to come up with their autonomous self driving car. A week ago, telecom major AT&T partnered with American Center for Mobility to aid them in testing autonomous cars.