An Argo-modified Ford autonomous vehicle parked in Manhattan on Friday, July 12, 2019.
Paul Eisenstein | CNBC
DETROIT — Ford Motor has hired former Zipcar Chairman and CEO Scott Griffith for its autonomous vehicle operations.
The automaker on Tuesday said Griffith, who headed Zipcar for more than a decade until 2013, started Monday as the director of AV product, marketing and operations for Ford Autonomous Vehicles.
In a Medium post announcing the hiring, Jim Farley, Ford’s president of new business, technology and strategy, said Griffith will focus on the customer experience of self-driving vehicles, including the “critical role of leading the development and execution of our go-to-market strategy.”
His responsibilities, according to Farley, will include “further developing Ford’s autonomous vehicle brand and marketing, defining the customer experience and product attributes needed to deliver this vision and building out the company’s fleet management and regional operations.”
Since leaving Zipcar, Griffith has been a part of a venture capitalist firm as well as a start-up driver safety company, among other endeavors, according to his LinkedIn page.
Griffith’s hiring comes amid a multibillion-dollar effort by companies to deploy autonomous vehicles for consumers, including Ford’s plan to launch a commercial self-driving service in 2021.
Farley called autonomous vehicles the “hardest thing the auto industry has faced since people made the jump from horses to cars.”
Alphabet’s Waymo last year launched a commercial robotaxi service in the Phoenix area. Ford’s crosstown rival, General Motors, earlier this year delayed the rollout of a robotaxi service that was expected to launch this year in San Francisco.
Ford Motor has hired former Zipcar Chairman and CEO Scott Griffith for its autonomous vehicle operations.