Ford acquiring software provider Journey Holding to speed development of AV services

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Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it was acquiring Journey Holding Corp., a transportation systems software provider that the automaker will use to speed development of autonomous vehicle services.

Journey Holding will combine with TransLoc, a software provider to transit agencies that Ford acquired in 2018. Journey CEO Justin Rees will lead the still-unnamed combined operation, which will include more than 200 workers. Ford declined to say how much it paid for Journey and the deal has not yet closed, according to a spokesman.

Journey was established in 2018 after a merger of DoubleMap Inc. and Ride Systems, both of which offered automatic vehicle location services to municipalities, universities, airports, hospitals and corporate fleets.

“The combination of these transit technology companies will accelerate our efforts to help cities deliver more seamless, productive, and accessible transportation solutions to their citizens and visitors,” Brett Wheatley, vice president of Ford Mobility marketing and growth, said in a statement. “It also will be key to connecting customers with the other mobility solutions in our portfolio, such as Spin e-scooters and our GoRide Health service.”

Earlier Tuesday, Ford announced it would acquire Quantum Signal AI, a 40-member team of roboticists operating in a 1930s-era former high school in Saline, Mich., near the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The 20-year-old company has experience working with the U.S. military on sniper simulations and remote-controlled sentinel robots.

Ford is progressing toward launching a Level 4 autonomous vehicle at scale for commercial buyers in 2021, targeting uses such as package delivery.

The automaker is experimenting in a number of mobility services areas. It has piloted autonomous pizza delivery and grocery delivery, bought the Spin electric-scooter company and is expanding its GoRide Health hospital shuttle service. Some bets, however, have not paid off.

Ford this year closed Chariot, an on-demand shuttle service it acquired for $65 million in 2016. Last week it announced it took a second-quarter loss of $181 million on an investment in software company Pivotal after the company’s stock dropped sharply.

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