Ford upgrades with AI deal; to close Brazil plants

Ford Motor’s San Francisco-based micromobility unit Spin has partnered exclusively with Drover AI, a company specialising in artificial intelligence-based internet of things solutions for last-mile transportation. Spin operates with electric scooters in cities and universities in the US and Europe.

The goal is to incorporate Drover AI’s machine learning technology, called PathPilot, into electric scooters so they can monitor the environment in real-time and help the driver make safe decisions.

The technology will be offered in the next generation of Spin’s monitoring platform, called Spin Insight Level 2, in cities across the US, the UK and other regions of the world in 2021.

In addition to detecting undue lane and parking on sidewalks with more than 95% accuracy, it will have wrong-driving and frontal collision detection systems and advanced monitoring increase vehicle life based on machine learning.

Like advanced driver assistance systems that help cars park, brake, and stay in the lane, the new platform combines a camera, multiple sensors and artificial intelligence creates a safer experience for passengers and pedestrians.

The current platform, called Spin Insight Level 1, was launched in 2017 and already offers features such as dynamic maximum speed control, restricted zone detection, parking support, tipping and theft detection, as well as battery, engine, and vehicle control systems monitoring.

In a related development, Ford has announced that it will end its manufacturing operations in Brazil. Ford has been established in Brazil since 1919 and has a workforce of 11,500 and four factories.  Two plants sited in Camacari and Taubate will be shut down immediately followed by its Horizonte plant to be closed by the end of 2021. The move will be costing Ford an estimated US$4.1 billion, and the unemployment of 5,000 workers.

 The restructuring was necessary to maintain global profit margins, according to Ford CEO, Jim Farley.

The company will continue its vehicle sales in Brazil by sourcing vehicles from its plants located in Argentina, Uruguay, and other countries; as well as retain its South America headquarters, product development and proving grounds here.