Below are a few excerpts from the article:
"It’s easy to think that startups are most interested in cash support, but many times that’s simply not the case. While Ford certainly makes its share of investments, oftentimes our most important contribution is our vast amount of expertise in engineering, manufacturing, advanced research and product development. This can take on multiple forms, including reaching out to our own experts for feedback on certain technologies, providing guidance on how a startup can incorporate its ideas into a supply chain, and even connecting them with existing suppliers to help make their next move.
This kind of collaboration takes time, dedication and a sincere desire to work together to make life better for millions. It also helps Ford, as a whole, understand exactly what it needs to do in order to create great customer experiences or improve its manufacturing processes. Establishing great relationships, in turn, exposes us to even more exciting work through the network effect we help create. We’re already starting to see some success, too — here are a few examples:
Cepton: An intelligent 3D-sensing solutions provider, Cepton develops LiDAR sensors for automotive and smart infrastructure markets using a unique imaging approach called MMT that enables scanning of environments without any mirrors, or rotating or friction components, creating a low-cost, high-resolution perception device. Ford has been engaged with Cepton almost since their inception in 2016, both for R&D collaboration and small-scale deployments. Cepton LiDAR are deployed in some of our smart city projects. Based on Ford’s guidance, Cepton delivered a custom version of their LiDAR to enable R&D on advanced ADAS features.
It’s not easy to get to the point where you’re developing proofs of concept — we only reach this stage with a select number of the startups we engage. Beyond that, there’s even more scrutiny to determine the true value of a project. Yet this is indispensable work that helps Ford filter ideas that can ultimately make a positive impact on customers, whether that’s through all-electric vehicles, more enjoyable connectivity experiences or introduction of self-driving vehicles."