Ford Motor Company announced Thursday that it has bought Palo Alto startup Autonomic Technologies Inc. as part of its effort to develop self-driving ride services aimed at improving traffic and transportation in cities nationwide.
Founded in 2016 by CEO Sunny Madra and COO Amar Varma, the 70-employee startup develops software related to self-driving vehicles. Under Ford, Madra will lead a program called "Ford X," which will develop the new ride services.
Ford previously invested an undisclosed amount in Autonomic earlier in 2017 before ultimately purchasing the company earlier this week.
Ford CEO Jim Hackett, who was formerly in charge of the company's autonomous driving unit in Palo Alto, announced that the company was in the process of working with Autonomic to build an open, cloud-based platform to work with cities interested in building infrastructure communications. The platform would enable communication and basic transactions between various components of transportation infrastructure, like connected stoplights and parking spots.
"Cities could use real-time location updates from vehicles to control traffic flow, dynamically rerouting cars to reduce congestion, improve commuting times or account for construction projects, sporting events and emergencies," Strader wrote. "We're ... working toward a future where self-driving cars will be ubiquitous, and where we have the potential to transform cities to meet the needs of all those living in them."