This initiative is the first widespread implementation of the company's long-term plan for sustainable mobility solutions.
The series is comprised of 11 challenges in which Ford invited developers to come up with innovative solutions to mobility problems around the world. Challenges include delivering healthcare in India, busting traffic congestion in some of China's most densely populated cities, and improving the delivery of goods and services in Portugal. Johannesburg also came in the spotlight, with the focus on adding value and improving a vehicle's utility.
Winners from around the world were showcased during Ford president and CEO Mark Fields' 2015 International CES keynote address, which outlined the company's far-reaching plans in mobility, connectivity and autonomy to create a better world for millions of drivers all over the globe.
"Ford has been enabling personal mobility since day one," said Fields. "Now, more than ever before, our open-innovation approach, new technologies and a globally connected network of developers are enabling mobility solutions at an unprecedented rate."
The challenges span the globe, from the Americas to China, South Africa, Europe, Australia and India. Prizes exceeding $200,000 will be awarded - as well as scholarships for entrepreneurial education in Argentina.
"One of the most thrilling aspects of the mobility challenges has been watching people come together from all over the world," said Ken Washington, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "To see people in the United States getting involved with finding solutions in India or China, and vice versa, is a remarkable demonstration of what an environment of open innovation can accomplish."
For each challenge, Ford worked with local experts to address the unique mobility needs of that location. Once the submissions came in, a panel of local experts and Ford executives involved in mobility solutions judged each competition.
"There's no single solution for mobility challenges, which are - at their core - local issues," said Washington. "Our goal with this series was to bring the global developer community together in the pursuit of creating a more sustainable and efficient transportation landscape for the future."
Ford's open-innovation approach to enabling smarter mobility solutions worldwide will continue in 2015, with an upcoming mobility app challenge in Australia. With the third-lowest population density in the world, Australia poses a unique set of challenges for drivers.
Innovators are being asked to create vehicle accessories that help drivers stay aware in remote areas where assistance is limited, and increase self-sufficiency in the event of electrical failure, dangerous road conditions and inclement weather.