Ford Is Acquiring Quantum Signal And Journey For Autonomous Vehicle Initiatives

By Amit Chowdhry ● August 5, 2019
  • Ford Motor Company has acquired Quantum Signal and Journey Holding to drive the growth of its autonomous vehicle initiatives.

This past week, Ford Motor Company revealed that it acquired two companies to drive its autonomous vehicle initiatives. The acquisitions include Journey Holding Corp. and Quantum Signal AI. Journey Holding is known for developing tracking software for the public transportation industry. And Quantum Signal AI is known for developing robotics and simulation software. The terms of both deals were undisclosed.

The acquisition of Journey also includes the subsidiaries Ride Systems and DoubleMap Inc. These are the companies which Journey builds apps for nearly 1,200 clients for setting up mass transit.

Journey provides these clients with ways to manage fleets and its users can use a smartphone app to schedule and track rides. Journey’s 200 employees will work side-by-side with the 200 TransLoc employees who are working for Ford’s Smart Mobility division. And TransLoc CEO Doug Kaufman is leaving the company on August 16.

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Journey Holding CEO Justin Rees and his team are going to work on developing an app that gives people access to Ford’s numerous options of transportation. For example, Ford runs an electric scooter company and a bike-sharing program. And the automaker is hoping to deploy autonomous vehicles by 2021.

And Saline, Michigan-based Quantum Signal AI will drive the growth of Ford’s self-driving vehicle development programs. And the company is going to develop more comprehensive simulation environments where Ford can test its vehicles.

Quantum Signal — which was founded by Mitchell Rohde and William Williams in 2000 — has built mobile robots for the U.S. military and this same technology can be deployed for autonomous vehicles. Quantum Signal is a 20-year-old company that has developed computer-generated environments (ANVEL), according to VentureBeat. And Ford will be using its real-time simulation software to build out its transportation-as-a-service (TaaS) platform along with controls that support functional safety and a number of other vehicle technologies.

“Operating out of a former school building in Saline, Quantum Signal has cultivated its own unique culture that we want to preserve as the team joins Ford and grows in the future. This is something we’re confident we can do because we’ve done it before — and we’re currently doing it again with a machine learning company that joined Ford almost three years ago: SAIPS,” wrote Ford CTO Randal Visintainer in a blog post. “Based in Israel, SAIPS is working closely with both Ford and the team at Argo AI, using machine learning to create an innovative visual cognition system for self-driving cars that can detect vehicles or pedestrians in the surrounding environment — including their blinking turn signals and hazard lights — even under severe weather and lighting conditions. Another core system enables fully automated, high-resolution 3D mapping of urban environments, something that plays a crucial role in allowing self-driving vehicles to situate themselves in the real world.”

Ford also has a close-knit relationship with a Pittsburgh-based driverless startup called Argo AI. Ford has committed to invest $1 billion in Argo AI in the next five years.