Liu Fei, director of Automobile Division, Alibaba Cloud (left) and Gavin Sherry, CEO and co-founder of Autonomic, after signing the deal.

Ford Motor Co. has taken another step toward bolstering its sinking operations in China with a new partnership to put autonomous vehicle technology into the Chinese market.

Autonomic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility LLC and the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, one of the world’s leading Internet-oriented companies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring to China the Transportation Mobility Cloud – a transportation and mobility solution for connected vehicles developed by Autonomic.

“The TMC is positioned to help automakers succeed and meet growing demand for connected vehicles and mobility services in China,” said Gavin Sherry, co-founder and CEO of Autonomic.

“Through this partnership with Alibaba Cloud, we will accelerate our vision of creating the largest connected vehicle offering globally, while powering smart cities and vehicle connectivity in China,” he said.

(Ford charges ahead with new autonomous vehicle unit. Click Here for the story.)

The cloud-based platform provides standardized data and infrastructure for developers to build software programs for interacting with connected vehicles.

The structure behind hind Ford Autonomous Vehicles L.L.C.

In turn, the software could help deliver a better in-vehicle connectivity and mobility experience for Chinese consumers, such as helping residents plan transit journeys, managing a large-scale fleet for a ride-hailing business, and even routing self-driving cars on busy streets.

“Alibaba Cloud and Autonomic share the same vision of redefining the future of vehicle connectivity through technology,” said Simon Hu from Alibaba Cloud. “With our new collaboration, we will be able to empower the transportation ecosystem and ultimately benefit the end users.”

Autonomic and Alibaba Cloud believe this partnership will be instrumental in shaping China’s transportation ecosystem by empowering multiple parties – including automakers, public transit operators and large-scale fleet operators and software developers – to enhance their vehicle connectivity and mobility experiences for Chinese customers.

(Click Here for more about Ford’s plans for the historic Detroit rail station.)

Both companies also agreed to explore new collaboration opportunities in the transportation and mobility sectors, with the ultimate goal of creating a safer, more efficient and sustainable transportation ecosystem in China.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, back left, and Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang, back right, oversee the signing of a three-year deal between the two companies.

In February 2018, Ford Smart Mobility announced its acquisition of Autonomic to accelerate innovation and delivery speed in mobility initiatives like the drive toward full connectivity, micro-transit solutions and non-emergency medical transportation.

Autonomic has opened an office and is building a team in Shanghai to further develop and deploy the TMC in China.

“This partnership between Autonomic and Alibaba Cloud marks another significant milestone in our cooperation with Alibaba in China, and supports our vision of becoming the world’s most trusted mobility company,” said Peter Fleet, Ford group vice president and president of Ford Asia Pacific.

“Working with Alibaba, we aim to help shape the future of mobility in one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets.”

(What’s going on at “The Factory?” Click Here for more on Ford’s other new project.)

Last December, Ford and Alibaba signed a Letter of Intent, agreeing to jointly explore a variety of areas of cooperation including mobility services, connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and digital marketing as an effort to revolutionize consumers’ mobility experiences in China.

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