The American automaker is making these patents – of which there are a lot – available through AutoHarvest, a non-profit organization that Ford co-founded in 2012 to act as a medium for manufacturers and suppliers to exchange innovation and technologies.
Alternatively, interested parties can also contact Ford’s technology commercialization licensing office to secure the transaction. This technological exchange would allow automakers who do not have electrified vehicle technology to rapidly catch up with the rest of the market, which is particularly of need among the smaller manufacturers.
“Innovation is our goal,” said Kevin Layden, director of Ford's Electrification Programs. “The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers.”
We have seen other automakers take this path of patent/technology licensing before, particularly those that concern electric vehicle or hybrid technology, though not exactly in the same vein as Ford is doing. In January 2015, Toyota made available 5680 hydrogen fuel-cell patents under royalty free contracts. Tesla meanwhile has put up its entire swatch of EV patents as open source, meaning anyone can use them without any charge or threat of legal repercussions.
Ford is also on course to hire 200 additional electrified vehicle engineers and intends to move the new team to a dedicated facility in Dearborn, Michigan.
“As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other,” Layden elaborated. “By sharing ideas, companies can solve bigger challenges and help improve the industry.”