Oct 27, 2016
Vice President, Autonomous Vehicle Solutions, Ford Smart Mobility LLC
Laura Merling is vice president of Autonomous Vehicle Solutions for Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company formed to accelerate the company’s plans to design, build, grow and invest in emerging mobility services. She assumed the position Oct. 31, 2016.
Ford Smart Mobility LLC is part of Ford’s expanded business model to be both an auto and a mobility company. The company is continuing to focus on and invest in its core business – designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing cars, SUVs, trucks and electrified vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics.
As vice president for AV Solutions, Merling leads the commercialization of autonomous vehicles. Ford has announced its intent to have a high volume SAE level 4 fully autonomous vehicle in commercial operation by 2021.
In addition to her role with Ford Smart Mobility, Merling serves in an advisory role for several startups working on Internet of Things connectivity, machine learning and digital manufacturing. These include Wivity, Thin Systems, Alluvium.io, and Authentise.
Merling came to Ford after running her own consultancy focused on the intersection of hardware, firmware, and software in the Internet of Things. Prior to that, she was global general manager and executive vice president of Internet of Things for SAP. In this role, Merling led the go-to-market strategy for the Internet of Things business.
Prior to SAP, Merling served as vice president, enterprise digital transformation for AT&T. In this role, she led the enterprise customer innovation program, launching big data and Internet of things solutions. In addition, Merling launched groundbreaking web services including the Mobile Identity Toolkit, and the company’s cloud based voice platform, while also developing business automation solutions and leading complex partnerships
Merling served with a wide variety of Silicon Valley organizations over her career including with Alcatel-Lucent as their senior vice president of Applications Platforms and Application Enablement, with Mashery as their vice president of sales and marketing, with Krugle, Inc as their vice president of marketing and business development and as executive director and chief executive officer for Silicon Valley Forum.
Merling began her career in 1989 as a technology analyst with TechTeam Global, working on key projects for Ford Motor Company, including the launch of the company’s first online configurator for the F-Series trucks and the first use of electronic medical records in the company’s US assembly plants.