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Women Key in Developing Mustang Mach-E Hands-Free System

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E hands-free system
Photo: Ford Motor Company

The team behind the development of a new hands-free driving technology offered on the upcoming Mustang Mach-E is earning attention not just for its creation, but for its inclusivity. According to Automotive News, about one third of the 75 team members are women, which is notably high in engineering.

The hands-free driving system will mark Ford’s first foray into offering self-driving technology to the masses. The system, which is as-yet unnamed, will be offered with the Mustang Mach-E Premium and GT trims. Among the women who have helped Ford bring this system to the market is Tracie Conn, who worked for NASA and now serves as a sensor engineer.

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“If we’re facing a challenge and all get together, having those diverse backgrounds, experiences, and points of view makes for such a stronger product in the end,” said Conn. “It makes a big difference having many different voices in the room.”

Ford has been a major proponent of getting women interested and involved in STEAM fields from an early age. Recent initiatives include Ford STEAM Day events at its World Headquarters campus in Dearborn and partnerships with Kode with Klossy, Girls Who Code, and the Girl Scouts of America.

Earlier in 2019, three female Ford employees earned recognition among Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in STEM. Several more women hold key positions at Ford, including Lincoln head of brand Joy Falotico.

As Ford continues to emphasize diversity and representation in the workplace, the makeup of the team behind the Mustang Mach-E’s driver-assist system will hopefully become less newsworthy. For the moment, it’s a step in the right direction.

“Even five years ago, I felt like the only woman in the room,” application manager Alexandra Taylor told Auto News. “Here, I don’t even think about it. We’ve got a healthy mix throughout.”

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