A Ford, Inc. executive has predicted that the self-driving auto will only last for four years because they will be driven so much.
Thanks to Ford, the ‘no driver required’ statement will be made possible by 2021 the year in which Ford will have fully automated cars, trucks, SUV’s in commercial operation in the US.
Ford’s operations chief of Autonomous Vehicles, John Rich,played down the concerns that the automated vehicles would drop off in the future. He told the Telegraph that vehicles are used- ‘exhausted’ – and crushed every four years in the auto industry.
Ford, head-quartered in Detroit, Michigan has plans in the works to establish an autonomous fleet to be used as service vehicles by other companies which plan on providing transport to employees as well as using them as delivery vehicles along with its commercial sales to the general public.
According to Ford’s website, plans to make the company’s goals a reality is being made possible by its partnership and investment in four different technological companies as well as doubling its presence in Silicon Valley in California. The company is expanding its presence there in Palo Alto by creating a dedicated campus to ensure that all the innovations it will be embarking on will be made.
Two new buildings have been added there to the Ford Research and Innovation Center initially built in 2015, which increased 150,000 square feet of work and lab space and doubled the Palo staff of 130.
Ford’s plans are to continue to research automated vehicles operating in hazarded conditions like driving in snow and complete darkness. These testings have been going on in Mcity which is the University of Michigan’s simulated urban environment.
Smart Mobility is the name of Ford’s efforts to build completely autonomous vehicles by 2021. There’s is the desire to be the leader in the US in autonomy, mobility, connectivity, analytics and customer experience.
The end goal of Smart Mobility is so that eventually each autonomous vehicle will operate without a steering, gas or brake pedal within a contained geo-fenced area as part of a ride-hailing (taxi) or ride-sharing experience. When the Ford vehicles reach this level of autonomy in self-driving it will be classified as a SAE Level 4 capable-vehicle that can complete all areas of driving without a human driver to intervene.
Argo AI, a Pittsburg start-up, is developing cars for Ford and is testing the automated technology in five cities: Austin, TX; Miami, FL; Palo Alto, CA; Dearborn, MI; and Washington, D.C.
Austin, Miami, Palo Alto, Washington, D.C. and Dearborn, Mich