Ford is definitely changing the focus its self-driving vehicle platform as early as next year. The company states it now plans to focus on functions beyond just enabling a computer program to drive from point A to B.
The company’s president of worldwide markets Jim Farley wrote in regards to the new developments in a Medium write-up, in which he emphasized Ford’s faithfulness to the customer as the main concern for its autonomous plans. More specifically, Farley published that Ford is dedicated to setting up systems that will prioritize the motion of people and goods, hinting on plans for commercial fleets plus ride-hailing services that align using the company’s existing deals and relationships. Â
The automaker’s plans add a brand new self-driving vehicle design that eschews the hockey puck-sized LiDAR units mounted near the side-view mirrors seen last December for a less obtrusive roof-mounted sensor unit. Ford will test the new design in an undisclosed city starting next year, according to a report from Reuters. Â
Foley said that the brand new design is built around four core tenets. The autonomous tech is intended to serve commercial grade customers, like taxi forces (like Lyft, a Ford partner) and government organizations, it will utilize hybrid fuel systems for extended range, it’ll be designed to foster positive relationships with the public, and it will be built with safety and dependability as its major guide points. Â
Ford programs to begin production on the new AVs in its Flat Rock, Michigan grow in 2021, a Ford speaker told Reuters. Planned battery work with electric vehicles will be shifted to some plant in Mexico, with the task commencing in 2020. Â
The announcements come at the tail finish of a year Ford in which offers moved aggressively to strengthen the self-driving program. The automaker spent around a billion dollars in new venture Argo AI to lead the particular charge back in February, promoted your head of its autonomous program, Jim Hackett, to CEO, in May, and joined with companies like Lyft plus Domino’s to explore the best ways to put the automobiles out on the road. Â
Some of those developments led Navigant Research to mention Ford the top company in the self-driving development space, tabbing it as a favorite to be the first company to actually bring the technology to the public in a meaningful way â? so doubling down on the consumer as a strategy is actually a good move for Ford to carry its position at the head of the pack. Â