The Ford Motor Company is planning to increase its market share in areas other than traditional vehicle production. Over the last year the 112-year-old automaker has filed a record number of patents as Mark Fields, its Chief Executive continues to push the company toward Silicon Valley-style innovations.
So far for 2015, Ford has applied for 5,872 patents, 36 percent more than it did for all of 2014. The patents include those for self driving cars, ride sharing, and wearable devices.
Bill Coughlin, chief executive officer of Ford Global Technologies says the company's filings related to electrified vehicles have tripled over the past five years, with 400 being filed this year alone.
“We’re getting innovation not just from the major centers we’ve had historically in Michigan and in Europe, but really the entire enterprise is becoming more inventive,” says Coughlin. “Once someone starts thinking like an inventor, they can’t turn that off. It changes your mindset more toward one that would be very familiar in Silicon Valley.”
Fields says he wants Ford to be as a known part of Silicon Valley as it is Michigan, as it seeks for further new business markets such as electrified vehicles and driverless cars.
In almost all of his public addresses this year, Fields has emphasised his desire for his management team to adopt the Silicon Valley mindset Coughlin mentioned.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based company will invest $4.5 billion in electrified autos by 2020, after increasing its autonomous-vehicle efforts in June with its announcement it was expanding its Smart Mobility plan and car-sharing test programs.
This week, Fields announced Ford has 275 U.S. patents on its EcoBoost engines, more than any other car maker for gasoline turbocharged direct-injection technology. He says there are another 200 patents pending.
So far this year, 1,000 of Ford’s patent applications have been approved while the rest are in the process.