Ford Motor Company has announced its plans to build a fleet of fully automated driverless vehicles for commercial ride-sharing by 2021, according to Reuters.
The company said it was increasing its investments in technology firms and tripling its investment in semi-autonomous systems, which would entail doubling the size of its Palo Alto research team while expanding its campus in Silicon Valley.
Ford made no mention of Apple or Google in its announcement, suggesting it sees itself competing against other tech companies who have their own car plans, rather than teaming up with them.
Ken Washington, Ford's vice president of research, told Reuters it was important to signal that Ford intends to win in this space. "We're saying to partners, we are the winning partner. It's not a hollow promise, it's a real intent," Washington said.
"Launching a self-driving car first for ride-sharing is a better way to reach the mass market and make the cars more affordable," said Ford Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair. The company is unlikely to offer a similar driverless car without steering wheel or pedals to consumers until 2025 or later, explained Nair.
Ford said it would invest in "Level 4" autonomy, referring to standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The levels represent the degree of autonomous sophistication, with Level 4 being "high automation", meaning the car is able to drive unmonitored in a specific use case - a city area, in Ford's vision, for instance.
Nair said the company wasn't willing to let drivers take control from a level two or three vehicle at a moment’s notice, citing safety concerns. "We don't yet know how to manage hand over back to the driver and have him engage and have him situationally aware, and be able to do that in a safe aware manner," he said, without mentioning Tesla's recent troubles.
The death of a Tesla driver in May who was using the company's "Autopilot" system but had his hands off the wheel has highlighted the confusion over drivers' responsibilities in a semi-autonomous car. Just yesterday, Tesla went so far as to remove the word "autopilot" from its China website after a driver in Beijing who crashed while the mode was active complained that the company had misled them about its capability.
"We abandoned the stepping-stone approach," added Ford chief executive Mark Fields, who believed there are too many risks involved in the safe "hand-over" of driving responsibility between car and driver.
Several sources indicate Apple is exploring various levels of autonomy in its much rumored car project, and has already met with California DMV officials regarding self-driving laws within the state.
The company's so-called Apple Car, codenamed "Project Titan" internally, is reportedly being headed up by former longtime executive Bob Mansfield, who last served as Senior Vice President of Technologies at the company. Last month it was reported that Apple's rumored 2020 target for launching the electric vehicle may have slipped to 2021.
Top Rated Comments
[doublepost=1471431841][/doublepost] Where do you think electricity comes from, or what electric vehicle batteries are made off? Flowers?
Everybody knows, that electric vehicles are not significantly cleaner than ICE vehicles because of of many reasons like manufacturing, toxic battery acids, energy production and so on.
Don't overexaggerate so much.
For starters, whatever the "overall" lifetime emissions of EVs are, they don't pump out nasty gasses and particulates at street level (unless you insist on doing donuts), so even if they don't cure global warming they'll make our cities much nicer places to breathe in.
The only "nasty toxic stuff" in EVs that isn't also present in ICE vehicles is in (or is used to produce) things like loads of copper wire in coils and the lithium ion batteries - all of which is sufficiently valuable to make it worth re-using & recycling. The only reason that it would end up in the environment is if you don't read that disclaimer about autopilot mode...
True - if you charge your EV from electricity generated from fossil fuels then they ultimately burn fossil fuels but if you have access to sustainably produced electricity, they can use it (unlike ICEs). In many places, you can choose to pay a bit extra for a "green" energy tariff. Telsa are working on solar panels and home storage batteries - so many people will be able to generate at least part of their own needs from solar.
As to whether it is more efficient to refine gasoline, transport it around the world and burn it in an ICE vs burn coal or gas at a big centralised powers station, distribute it by cable and charge a battery... well, unfortunately anybody who has the necessary knowledge and access to data to work that out seems to have a pro- or con- EV agenda, and its far to easy to be selective, so its hard to know who to believe.
Oh, and by all accounts, EVs are also very nice to drive...
Time is up. Die slow (or fast), Ford Motor Company.
PS this ain't really a MacRumor.
Many times Tesla Motors have said that even the base $35,000 car will be a brilliant car, industry leading in its class, no need for optional extras.
$35,000 is not an expensive electric car. It is a highly smart if you're keen to get rid of being tied to a gasoline pump and all that junk under the hood that needs to be refilled for the life of the car. Waste of time and money those old gas guzzlers are.
A lot of disruption is on the way for the old players like Ford and GM. Scary times ahead for the management at those places. Fortunately, all their workers will have better jobs at a better place like Tesla or other electric vehicle manufacturers, maybe even Apple.
1000 km in one go? That's 10 hours of non stop driving at 100 km/h. Not only is that highly dangerous, the act of continuously driving for 10 hours straight is irresponsible not to mention very expensive on gas fuel! Most people stop for lunch, dinner, breakfast, and umm, sleep :oops: ZZZ zzz ZZZ zzz ZZZ [I]zzz ZZZ zzz ZZZ.[/I]
You're inventing non issues here. It almost reads as big oil propaganda! :eek::rolleyes:o_O
- There is no range issue, it has nothing to do with the phase of the moon - a ridiculous argument you've made.
- Charging is simple, the car locates the charging stations, you can charge at home.
- What's the problem exactly? There are no problems with electric cars. There are however huge problems with gas guzzler internal combustion engine cars and they are so pricey over their life time as well! Ripped off on a number of fronts with old gas guzzler cars.
I get it, you are angry. I'm sorry. Move aside, take another 1000 km non stop drive in your gas guzzler and let the Tesla Model 3 and other electric vehicles through.