High-Tech Problem Solvers

Ford added 3,000 new high-tech team members to create mobility solutions for the future

Ford's new tech team hires include a large number of women, something the company takes pride in.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

With specialties ranging from advanced computing to analytical and technical skills, Ford's 3,000 new employees are showing just how far Ford has come from the days of the relative simplicity of the Model T. The mobility solutions the team is working on include everything from the new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E to e-scooters, app development, city planning tools, and the forthcoming Bronco.

The modernization of the company's workforce is paired with the automaker's redesign of its office space. That starts at home, in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford's 66-year-old Product Development Center is the future home of the product development side of the business. Employees stationed there will work closely with the team located at the Michigan Central Station on mobility solutions. Ford predicts that Product Development Center development will be complete by 2025 and co-locate more than 6,000 employees.

Ford Motor Company - Product Development Center Redesign

Renderings courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford's Dearborn campus is undergoing a long-awaited upgrade.

The company's master plan calls for the Research & Engineering campus in Dearborn to house more than 20,000 employees in the future.

Currently, Ford has launched a dogs-at-work pilot program and is giving employees free coffee. Ford's employee retention rate is already better than the tech industry's average. According to Information Week, the tech industry has the highest employee turnover of any business sector at 13.2 percent.

Ford is making worker diversity a focus as the company makes hiring moves, especially focusing on women. Tracie Conn has worked for Ford's advanced engineering group that deals with vehicle sensors and algorithms for the last two years. Before that she was an engineer with NASA for five years. "This team has the highest percentage of women of any team I've worked on," said Conn. "For me, seeing other women in senior roles helps us envision ourselves in those spots one day. I hope we can serve as role models for even more young women."

The 3,000 isn't where they're stopping. Ford is currently looking to fill hundreds more openings for software developers, data scientists, digital media specialists, app developers and more.

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New pickup truck

Ford to use Maverick name for new pickup

The Maverick name was last used on a car in the 1970s.

Ford

The pickup game is heating up, but it's not a big truck that we're here to talk about. Ford has just confirmed the Maverick name for its upcoming compact pickup, and the images included with today's press release appear to jive with the spy shots we've been seeing over the last year or so. Though it already has the best-selling pickup truck of all time in the F-150, a solid midsize entry in the Ranger, and a variety of heavy-duty options with its Super Duty lineup, Ford is set to add another pickup truck to its catalog with the compact Maverick.


Ford Maverick name Gabrielle Union will headline the unveiling on June 8th.Ford


The Maverick is expected to ride on a modified C2 platform, which currently underpins the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport. That makes the Maverick a tiny truck by today's full-size standards and will make it noticeably smaller than the existing Ford Ranger pickup. The platform also means that the Maverick will be a unibody pickup truck, which sets it apart from the body-on-frame construction of the F-150 and others.

The unibody design will give the Maverick a smoother, more car-like ride and better handling, but isn't typically used for trucks because body-on-frame construction gives pickups more rigidity and better capability to deal with heavy loads. Even so, the Maverick should still be able to muster a decent tow and payload rating, as we've seen from other unibody vehicles, such as the Honda Ridgeline.


Ford Maverick name The Maverick's trim designation appears just below its side mirrors.Ford


Ford hasn't given out any other details on the Maverick, other than to note that the truck's official unveiling event will take place on June 8. Actress Gabrielle Union is headlining the event, which will take place across all of Ford's social channels, on Hulu, and on Union's Instagram and TikTok channel. Ford notes that the Maverick will be its first vehicle debut on its U.S. TikTok channel.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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