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Red Horse

Ford Spending 900 million at Avon Lake

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As a part of the new UAW contract, Ford announced they would be spending 900 million at the Avon Lake truck plant for a new product.  By comparison Hino spent 100 million at their West VA plant to expand into class 8.

How about it KSC.  You know plant investment costs.  Any opinion?   If Hino spent 100 million to add class 8 vocationals (tandems included) what can Ford do with 900 mil?

Hope I'm not disappointed and its an autonomous E-350 For Amazon deliveries🙁

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Maybe this?
 
 
 
 

Inside Ford’s Drone Division With Commercial Drones FM

Posted By: Malek Murisonon: May 24, 2019

Back in March, car manufacturer Ford announced that its drone division had put forward a suggestion to the FAA’s remote tracking & ID aviation rulemaking committee. Our first impression was ‘Hold up, Ford has a drone division?’ After that, we had a look at the specifics of the suggestion. It was interesting.

As a quick refresh, Ford’s idea was to use anti-collision lighting to flash a unique identifier from each drone (You can read more about that here). The result is the 10-digit registration number provided to each pilot by the FAA being transmitted using the anti-collision lights and received/decoded with a camera-based software application.

ford drone division

 

In the post outlining the idea, Ford claimed that the system is “zero cost” and “requires little to no modification of existing models”.

We know that proper anti-collision lighting kits (The kind you need to fly at night, for example) cost money. And they aren’t the kind of gear most pilots, recreational or otherwise, have at their disposal – as night flights are currently banned without a waiver in most countries.

Ford also suggested that members of the public could download the associated application, scan drones they see nearby and report (presumably) misbehaving pilots to the authorities. Again, interesting, but there’s something about it that feels uncomfortable. Sure, it would improve accountability. But making available that kind of app would probably only add to the state of public drone paranoia, not reduce it. Creating a culture of mass reporting isn’t the way to put peoples’ minds at ease.

 

Beyond those issues, the technology is certainly innovative and unique. Ford is still working on it as far as we know, so maybe this kind of system could be built into existing lights on DJI drones, for example. It could certainly provide a layer of ID capability that would be applicable in certain scenarios.

Anyway, at the time it was clear that the company was interested in pursuing drone technology in general, not just ID solutions. We haven’t heard much about those ambitions since. This is where they left us:

At Ford, we recognize that people are using drones in fascinating ways: to monitor crops in agriculture, gather information for disaster management, and in the inspection of buildings or other infrastructure. Our customers are beginning to think about drones as tools to help get their jobs done, the same way they think about their vehicles. As researchers, we were intrigued by the relationship between our vehicles and drones and how we might serve our customers in the future, so we embarked on a mission to find out more.

 
 
Ford+Drones = Flying Cars?

Don’t get too excited. The Ford drone division doesn’t yet have any projects involving Mustangs flying off into the sunset. But they could be on the horizon, according to Singh. Although admittedly he’s perhaps speaking in broader terms about the industry rather than Ford’s specific ambitions.

“What we are interested in is building a scalable [flying car concept] which operates on the order of magnitude that cars now operate,” he said. “And for that a lot of these little steps need to be crossed, starting off with these low footprint drones that are very lightweight and do something useful – Until we bring society, the government, customers, the market, shareholders.. to a point where flying cars become a reality.

“You can bring about change, but you can’t bring about too much change at once.”

Why is Ford Interested in Drones?

It’s easy to think that Ford is breaking new ground with its exploration of drone technology. And in a way, that assumption would be correct.

However, as Singh explains, the move highlights that Ford sees itself as more than just a car manufacturer. The company is about mobility: getting things and people from one place to another; using machines to make our lives easier. Viewed in that context, Ford’s drone division makes sense. The company has also made strategic investments and acquisitions in the drone space, with a view to creating a “multi-modal mobility ecosystem.”

With that in mind, Singh explains his role in more detail. First of all, the work involves the technical stream: integrating drones with Ford’s vehicles, “getting drones into the mobility ecosystem, building innovation acceleration tools and inventing concepts around the area of flight,” he says.

That might sound like a lot of buzzwords, but exploration often involves not having a well-defined endpoint – so fair enough.

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The second role involves getting involved with policy making: “interfacing with government entities, interfacing with the FAA. And not just in the US but in the EU as well,” he says. Rather than getting involved in drone policy for the sake of it, Ford clearly has longer-term ambitions in the space. That’s why the company wants to have “a pulse on how the industry is shaping up – because we want to inform our strategy according to what the operational framework for UAVs will be 2 years from now, not what it is right now.”

The final part is to ensure that Ford keeps an eye on the bigger picture, and that there’s a product development roadmap in place and deliverables that make strategic sense to the business.

Read more: DJI’s Michael Perry Talks Data Security With Commercial Drones FM

Ford’s Future Plans

Ford is currently developing a drone platform that can be used by its team of engineers as a tool upon which all kinds of applications can be built. Aside from that, the company appears to have plans for both the recreational and professional markets.

Speculating on what Ford will come up with 5 years from now, Singh points out a couple of viable markets and options for the company.

“Five years is so far ahead to see, but when we are discussing our business priorities, one thing we make certain is that we have a lot of momentum around any mode of mobility that shows business potential.”

“Ultimately yes, we do tinker with the toys and build a lot of cool stuff and we have fun, but everything needs to have a business case behind it.”

It might be that some of Ford’s more adventurous vehicles come with a drone to help drivers capture moments from above.

“What do you do with vehicles like the Bronco and Raptor? You take them off-roading and you want to capture some of these nice moments,” he said.

Commercial operations are definitely on the radar, too. Singh mentions agriculture and pizza delivery. It’s not that Ford will be looking into novel applications necessarily, but that the company will look for novel ways to implement those applications.

 
 
 

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Hah! Like I said-I'm hoping for a return to real vocational trucks but its probably something  like you posted or an AV for Amazon deliveries.

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Well guys I guess my post was partially correct-about an autonomous  E-350 for Amazon🙄.  I guess there are all kinds of Bloomberg stories that the 900 mil is for a new electric vehicle that WAS going to be built in the Flat Rock plant that builds Mustangs.

Come hell or high water we will be driving all kinds of electrics in the short term instead of letting this happen at a normal pace.  And we the taxpayers one way or another will continue paying through the nose for all the subsidies that go along with the "greens" push to kill all ICE's!

I guess the next best business to be in is recycling spent solar panels, batteries etc etc.  Clean Harbors and other environmental giants are I'm sure looking at that right now.

 

 

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54 minutes ago, Red Horse said:

Well guys I guess my post was partially correct-about an autonomous  E-350 for Amazon🙄.  I guess there are all kinds of Bloomberg stories that the 900 mil is for a new electric vehicle that WAS going to be built in the Flat Rock plant that builds Mustangs.

Come hell or high water we will be driving all kinds of electrics in the short term instead of letting this happen at a normal pace.  And we the taxpayers one way or another will continue paying through the nose for all the subsidies that go along with the "greens" push to kill all ICE's!

I guess the next best business to be in is recycling spent solar panels, batteries etc etc.  Clean Harbors and other environmental giants are I'm sure looking at that right now.

Bob, sounds like Ford is repurposing Avon Lake for electric car production (the electric F-150 won’t be built there).

https://www.autonews.com/manufacturing/ford-changes-plans-again-underused-mustang-plant-report-says

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No doubt Ford sees Workhorse's stunning success in the drone field as inspiration to make this bold more, fully in step with Hackett's head-in-the-clouds (or ass in the ditch?) vision for a reimagined Ford.   

But what about Avon Lake?  I though Ford had a good thing going there, perfect plant for relatively low-volume commercial truck production, all under one roof.

It appears that commercial vehicle production continues at Avon Lake for the duration of the new UAW contract, the change to EV's will be in 2023.

 

 

Edited by RoadwayR

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7 hours ago, RoadwayR said:

No doubt Ford sees Workhorse's stunning success in the drone field as inspiration to make this bold more, fully in step with Hackett's head-in-the-clouds (or ass in the ditch?) vision for a reimagined Ford.   

But what about Avon Lake?  I though Ford had a good thing going there, perfect plant for relatively low-volume commercial truck production, all under one roof.

It appears that commercial vehicle production continues at Avon Lake for the duration of the new UAW contract, the change to EV's will be in 2023.

It's amazing that Workhorse is still in business, and I'm confident they won't be for much longer.

Ford doesn't produce medium trucks (F-650/F-750) at a meaningful profit. It's purely for face. Yes, I'm thrilled that Ford is still at least in medium, however I can easily imagine Blue Oval having a change of heart and departing the segment to focus on other.

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Ford class 8 would be nice. Ford is wise to diversify. If you look back in American truck manufacturing history  of the 70's through the 90's. class 8 sales in the US  turned over big time.

IH went bankrupt and became Navistar. White went bankrupt and Volvo sucked them up. Mack through Signal let Renault have controlling interest and then Volvo got the prize. GM went in bed with Volvo and then pulled out.  Freightliner, Western Star and Detroit were  were gobbled up by Daimler. I am not sure how Daimler got Sterling from Volvo but Ford class 8 became Sterling. Paccar was the only manufacturer to survive (Navistar and Oskosh excluded) primarily because they didn't over extend themselves and were diversified in other areas other than automotive. Ford would be wise to diversify in other profitable enterprises and get that languishing stock price up. 

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A small company has to find a niche and specialize, but Ford is one of the world's largest automakers and can afford to cover most all markets- Cars, SUVs, trucks, big trucks, tractors, etc.. Having a broad line is a big advantage in corporate sales- Daimler will offer the low end Mercedes cars to fleet customers in a package with the trucks to win a big order, Ford can't do that now.

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On 11/2/2019 at 1:17 PM, RoadwayR said:

No doubt Ford sees Workhorse's stunning success in the drone field as inspiration to make this bold more, fully in step with Hackett's head-in-the-clouds (or ass in the ditch?) vision for a reimagined Ford.   

But what about Avon Lake?  I though Ford had a good thing going there, perfect plant for relatively low-volume commercial truck production, all under one roof.

It appears that commercial vehicle production continues at Avon Lake for the duration of the new UAW contract, the change to EV's will be in 2023.

 

 

Since the retro Bronco in gas and electric power is due out spring of 2020 maybe that will be at Avon too?

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5 hours ago, 41chevy said:

Since the retro Bronco in gas and electric power is due out spring of 2020 maybe that will be at Avon too?

I do believe that is a done deal and will be built at MAP or Michigan Assembly Plant.  That is why they killed the Focus which was built there so they could accommodate the new Ranger and the new Bronco which both will be built there.

Then again it seems every time you read something about Ford you are reading about another Bronco variant.

Or perhaps Hackett has had a change of heart as he was stuck in traffic the other day and saw he was surrounded by CARS made by Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, Subaru etc etc. and said.."hmnn, maybe I was wrong, there IS a market for cars-lets build them at MAP and we will build nothing but trucks and trucklets at OAP."

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If Hackett was stuck in traffic he was surrounded by SUV's that never see a day of being driven off the pavement.

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3 hours ago, TS7 said:

If Hackett was stuck in traffic he was surrounded by SUV's that never see a day of being driven off the pavement.

Well I don't argue your point about most SUV's never being driven off pavement.  My point was there are plenty of people who still are driving cars.  And yes I know, Ford makes the claim they made no money building small cars-at least here in the US.  And as a stockholder I can appreciate the focus (no pun intended) on making money.    Then again, perhaps the fact that most small cars are being built in non-union southern plants has something to do  with the fact that the Koreans can compete while Ford can't.

Just seems a shame to me however that with some marketing effort, the volume could have been there.   As is often the case however, it seems Ford comes out with a product then quickly switches plans and it is yesterday's newspaper.

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