Former Zipcar CEO joins Ford autonomous subsidiary

Former Zipcar CEO joins Ford autonomous subsidiary

DETROIT — Former Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith, auto industry veteran, is joining Ford Motor in advancing the automaker’s autonomous vehicle development.

Griffith will join Ford Autonomous in a new position as the director of AV product, marketing and operations, Jim Farley, the automaker’s president for new businesses, technology and strategy, said Tuesday.

Griffith, 60, will lead the development and execution of the automaker’s go-to-market strategy as it relates to customer experience and autonomy.

The Ford subsidiary was formed in 2018 and focuses on autonomous vehicle development, including self-driving systems integration, AV research and advanced engineering and more.

The automaker previously said its investment in AV technology would total $4 billion through 2023.

Farley said at a conference last month that the automaker is still committed to launching self-driving commercial robocars by its self-imposed deadline of 2021. In addition to Tuesday’s announcement, the automaker has made other moves to meet this deadline, including acquiring defense contractor Quantum Signal AI in July .

In a Medium blog post , Farley said Griffith is critical to the team for his experience in “launching a new mobility service with large-scale operations.”

Griffith joined car-sharing service Zipcar as CEO in 2003, replacing one of the founders, and held that position until 2013.

Griffith led what is the world’s largest car-sharing network in going public in 2011 and was responsible for its sale to Avis Budget Group the year he left the company.

Farley wrote that Griffith’s responsibilities as director of AV product, effective Monday, will include further developing Ford’s autonomous vehicle brand and marketing, defining the customer experience and product attributes needed to deliver the automaker’s vision, and building out the company’s fleet management and regional operations.

“Being able to operate a technology-enabled fleet with a high utilization rate and rapid recovery is critical for our self-driving service to become seen as trusted, reliable and efficient,” Farley wrote.

“Finally, you have heard me talk about the importance of building a self-driving service that’s scalable — and where and how big you launch is key to this. Having deployed a similar strategy at Zipcar, Scott understands the importance of perfecting the customer experience and achieving scalability city by city before expanding nationally,” Farley added.

Ford’s addition to its AV arm comes as the automaker has been working on several customer-focused initiatives, including piloting autonomous pizza delivery with Domino’s and package delivery through Postmates and Walmart . The automaker is also testing AV deployment in Miami; Austin, Texas ; and Washington, D.C.

The automaker’s recent moves also likely come amid several other automakers’ investments and advances in autonomous technology.


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