September 30, 2013

Ford bets on mobile device technology, acquires Livio

Many in the automotive industry are looking at the integration of mobile technology as the next step toward in-car driver and passenger entertainment. There have been rumors of an Apple-centered iCar for some time, though nothing has come of it. This week, it was announced that one auto giant is taking a step toward improving their options.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, Ford has acquired technology start-up Livio in a deal worth less than $10 million. This was done to accelerate the streaming of information into future vehicles and establish a technology standard that other automakers and suppliers could use.

Livio, a finalist for the Consumer Electronics Association's Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award, develops and licenses software to carmakers that makes it possible to connect a smartphone and its apps to the car radio.

"They will help us accelerate the industry standard and integrate our intellectual property. It's easier to push a standard when you're not just a start-up in Detroit," Livio founder Jake Sigal said. He continues to say he couldn't imagine a better partner for his company than Ford.

This is an important move for Ford, as the company projects 21 million vehicles will have an integrated system by 2018. Currently there are only 2 million such vehicles on the road. This technology acquisition not only gives Ford access to the state-of-the-art service and the ability to resell it, but also gives it a competitive advantage in an emerging market.