Ford CEO “Our First Driverless Car will be for Everyone”
Fully autonomous vehicles will be here before you know it. But the reality is, not everyone will have the means to own one.
Like most new technologies, when fully autonomous cars come to market, they will likely cost a premium. So the luxury of owning a car that can drive you to work or across town will likely be reserved for the wealthy.
But Ford’s CEO Mark Fields told Tech Insider Tuesday that when the company rolls out its first autonomous car, it will be for the masses.
“When we come out with it we want to make sure that it is true to our brand,” Fields said. “And our brand has always been around accessibility, it’s been around ingenuity, and it has been around people to people. It’s a very human brand. And we want to make sure when we come out with an autonomous vehicle that it will be accessible to millions as opposed to maybe just folks who can afford luxury vehicles.”
One way Ford may accomplish this is by first rolling out its autonomous vehicles in a fleet setting used for mobility services. And it’s possible such a service could be here before you know it.
Ken Washington, Ford’s vice president of research and advanced engineering, told Tech Insider the company aims to have its fully autonomous vehicles ready in four to five years. Washington added, though, that just because the technology is ready, doesn’t necessarily mean that laws will be in place for the cars to operate completely autonomously.
Ford, though, will be prepared regardless.
In January, Ford formed a subsidiary called Ford Smart Mobility. The new business is responsible for designing, building, and investing in mobility services.
And in April the company will launch its FordPass mobile app, which will serve as the platform for all of its mobility services.
This means, in the future, you would hypothetically be able to use the FordPass app to request a driverless vehicle.
Now, the details regarding this scenario are still blurry considering the technology is still being developed and laws governing this technology have yet to be put in place. But the company is thinking ahead and has promised us at least this: Its self-driving cars are coming and they will be accessible for everyone.