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Agent Of Change: Ford Empowers Women And Saves Lives In Rural India Through New Technology, SUV Capabilities

Ford's Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility, for example, emphasizes the importance of providing proper working conditions and overall human rights for Ford, its suppliers and the communities in which it does business.

Ford continues to increase its presence in India, where it operates a vehicle and engine manufacturing facility in Chennai, has invested $1 billion for its second integrated manufacturing facility at Sanand, and is committed to bringing the best of global products and services to the country. Ford also plans to expand its sales and service operations to 500 locations across India by mid-decade, with a focus and commitment to empower communities across its existing and proposed facilities.

"Ford views accessibility to a better life as a fundamental human right, so being able to successfully help women and children in parts of rural India obtain healthcare is a perfect fit for what we're trying to do as a company from an overall sustainable approach," says Berdish.

"SUMURR exemplifies the power of partnerships; through this effort, we are leveraging the best of public and private sector resources to support enhanced healthcare in areas that are hard to reach," says Gloria Cabe, senior advisor, U.S. Department of State. "Collaborative efforts such as this are game changers, helping to promote innovative solutions to enduring challenges."

Rural India today, Detroit tomorrow

K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader for Open Innovation at Ford, framed the initial vision for SUMURR, working with Berdish, and oversaw its technology development.

Prasad is based at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich., where many of the company's most talented researchers and scientists have helped develop revolutionary technologies such as Ford SYNC ® and EcoBoost ®. He says the mass-market applications of the kind of technology used in SUMURR are another benefit of Ford's involvement.

For example, in some of the remote hilly villages where the Ford Endeavour was used, cellular phone signals were extremely weak or nonexistent.

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