Ford is taking another step in its commitment to make its major products, including the Fusion, the Focus and F-150, domestically-made. The automaker is announcing a new partnership with the chip-maker NVIDIA to work together to develop a manufacturing process for further automation of the automotive supply chain.
Under the terms of the partnership, NVIDIA will use its AI-based chip design and its GPU, graphics processing unit (GPU), to improve vehicle safety and performance. Ford will partner with a CPU specialist to provide the silicon engines to power the new EV and hybrid powertrains in its vehicles.
A spokesperson for Ford was quoted as saying that “NVIDIA will work with Ford to accelerate driving assistance and safety technologies.” The company is offering several examples of areas where they say they can enhance performance, safety and efficiency with NVIDIA chip designs.
Customers will begin seeing faster entertainment systems from Ford on its F-150 in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a new AV interface expected in 2020. To complement the AV interface, Ford will also have an overall visual and lighting redesign of the F-150.
Following the move toward more self-driving cars, Ford is facing increased competition for greater market share in the emerging electric vehicle market. The most recent report from IHS Markit forecasts that out of the total sales forecast of new vehicle sales in 2019, 2.2 million of those sales will be powered by electric vehicles, or 13.3% of the total. By 2023 that will increase to 9.1% of the market, up to 6.8 million total sales.
Ford has announced that its all-new Ford Focus will be powered by a hybrid hybrid system from Tesla. This new vehicle is set to launch in the second half of the year and be followed by another Hybrid Focus available in 2019. The Focus Electric, which will be a plug-in hybrid, will be available in the middle of the next year.
The company also announced that two new flexible hybrid vehicles will be launched this year. One, the Vignale version of the Ford Edge, will use a “next-generation” hybrid powertrain. The other, a mid-size car, will be introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Andrea Allaire, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association commented that “Automotive suppliers have been working closely with car manufacturers to create a new manufacturing process that produces high quality parts made in the U.S. by Americans for the American people.”
She also added that manufacturers must “remain a good part of the solution and complement rather than replace traditional outsourcing.”
Other automotive companies signing on to the alliance are Raycom Media, which will use its infrastructure to accelerate data sharing between manufacturing and content companies. At San Francisco-based Razer, Tony Steelberg, CEO of the gaming company, said “For a lifetime, I believed in NVIDIA’s commitment to AI, and today I am even more convinced that it will lead to exciting innovation across the entire automotive and gaming industries.”
NVIDIA’s stock climbed 3.62% during trading on Friday.
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