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AWS In Expanded Deal To Power Ford-Backed Transportation Cloud

The Ford-owned Autonomic, as an AWS Partner Network technology partner, will work with independent software vendors and system integrators to offer vehicle connectivity services and capabilities to automotive manufacturers and mobility application developers.

Amazon Web Services’ expanded deal to host the Ford Motor Co.-backed Autonomic Transportation Mobility Cloud opens up channel partner opportunities.

Amazon Web Services yesterday announced a multi-year deal to host the Ford Motor Co.-backed Autonomic Transportation Mobility Cloud to give automotive manufacturers and software developers the necessary cloud infrastructure to create connected-vehicle services at scale.

The global agreement will expand the availability of cloud connectivity and connected-car application development services for the transportation industry and open up new opportunities for channel partners of the Seattle, Wash.-based cloud provider, the companies said.

Autonomic is a subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility. Its vehicle brand-agnostic Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC) is billed as the first open cloud-based platform to connect urban mobility systems components including connected vehicles, mass transit, pedestrians, city infrastructure and service providers. TMC, which already is connected to millions of vehicles, provides bi-directional connectivity to the cloud from vehicles. It ingests and enriches vehicle data in real time and gives software developers easy access to the processed data to create applications for drivers, fleet owners and vehicle manufacturers to handle tasks such as routing self-driving cars, managing large-scale fleets or helping people plan transit journeys, according to the company.

The deal expands an existing AWS relationship with Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Autonomic.

“Autonomic and AWS already enjoy a highly successful business relationship, and TMC currently runs on AWS in much of the world,” an AWS spokeswoman said. “This agreement will expand that relationship significantly, beyond infrastructure and into partnership and shared customer opportunities.”

The agreement opens up partnership and business opportunities for automakers, public transit operators, large-scale fleet operators, software developers and channel partners. Autonomic, as a technology partner in the AWS Partner Network, will work with independent software vendors and system integrators to offer auto manufacturers and mobility application developers vehicle connectivity services and capabilities for developing connected vehicle cloud services, vehicle features and mobile applications.

“The collaboration with Ford and Autonomic transforms the way automotive customers and partners develop connected-vehicle cloud services,” AWS CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement. “Autonomic customers will be able to bring innovative mobility services and differentiated customer experiences to their customers worldwide by integrating TMC with AWS. Such capabilities, together with AWS’s Partner Network community and broad customer base in automotive, will help reimagine the future of the automobile industry.”

The AWS-Ford partnership allows both parties to significantly expand their customer reach and leverage key technologies that both companies built, said Justin Ho, CEO of rideOS, a San Francisco company that’s building "ride sharing in a box" -- applications, software development kits and application programming interfaces that allow original equipment manufacturers, transportation network companies and cities to launch on-demand mobility services.

RideOS is a close partner with Autonomic.

“Autonomic is building a robust ecosystem inclusive of developers to enable the next-gen of mobility apps by building on top of Ford's Transportation Mobility Cloud,” Ho said. “We are one of those partners, offering building blocks for on-demand transportation -- on-demand, dispatch and route optimization services -- for companies looking to deploy and scale fleets of self-driving vehicles.”

The benefit of the AWS-Ford collaboration is clear to Sara Spangelo, CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Swarm Technologies.

“The more broadly that TMC is available globally, the more value it can bring,” she said. “That perspective is very consistent with ours because Swarm is preparing to support these mobility services through our global satellite network, enabling enterprises and AWS partners globally to access critical remote services in the cloud from anywhere in the world.”

AWS and Autonomic have a common goal to build a cohesive framework for vehicle makers and developers, “allowing them to focus on creating some of the best experiences for customers who use our connectivity systems,” Gavin Sherry, Autonomic’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.

“Now, with the announcement of this strategic collaboration, our platforms’ capabilities will expand greatly,” he said.

AWS’ expanded Ford partnership is the latest in a string of automotive industry deals for Amazon. Volkswagen last month announced it partnered with AWS to build the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, a cloud-based industrial digital production platform that will that will integrate 30,000 facilities and 1,500 suppliers and partners in Volkswagen’s supply chain and automate the company’s manufacturing and logistics processes.

Last year, Amazon announced that Audi and HERE Technologies, a mapping and location platform services company, would integrate its Alexa voice services into their infotainment platforms and solutions. It’s also working with Ford, Echo Auto, BMW, Lincoln, Lexus, SEAT and Toyota to integrate Alexa into their vehicles.

Amazon also led a $700 million equity investment round announced in February for Plymouth, Mich.-based Rivian, which is building an all-electric pickup truck and SUV. Ford announced a $500 million investment in Rivian today.

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