Bill Ford on the Second Revolution for Mobility at #DETSW16

By Amanda Lewan on May 23rd, 2016 / Comments

In Detroit over 2,000 attendees are enjoying a free week of events for Detroit Startup Week, happening today through the end of the week.

Bill Ford and Mayor Mike Duggan kicked off the event earlier today talking about the city’s period of reinvention and what that means for big companies like Ford. Bill Ford spent most of his talk introducing Detroit as a city amidst in the “second revolution,” with the first being the birth of the auto industry. The second revolution will be how mobility transforms movement with technology.

“I believe we are at the verge of the second revolution. The first was when my great grandfather changed how we move,” he said. “Now the way people move, goods move, healthcare is delivered…all of this is going to chance in a very short time. Detroit can be and should be ground zero for this change.”

What does this second wave of mobility mean? Bill Ford said it’s not going to be selling more vehicles, but re-thinking how those vehicles can improve lives. The second revolution is what goes into the vehicles and how they interact with each other.

“Mobility looks very different depending where you are. Most of what people focus on now is urban mobility,” Ford said. “It can be a human rights issue if we can’t move food and healthcare.”

For example, Ford pointed to a special project in India where they are using technology to transmit health data back to medical centers, transmitting vital information to hospitals in big cities where the mother’s care can be better monitored. They are also using sensors to track how to best deliver food and healthcare around the world.

Bill Ford told the audience he really believes that now is the chance in Detroit to take the lead in mobility. He specifically pointed to the high number of engineering graduates in the region, low cost of rent, and a change in attitude in the industry. 

“OEMS are intensely interested in this space. There’s been a tremendous shift and attitude,” he said.  And he said that no wise the “brightest time for the city” since his great grandfather.

“People say to me that Detroit feels like Silicon Valley in it’s beginning 20 years ago. There’s a community here and people are working together. The community hear is embracing people trying new things,” he said. “That to me is the most powerful thing going.”

Learn more about Detroit Startup Week’s free events here:

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.