In the latest installment of Autoline This Week, host John McElroy invited Ford Director of City Solutions Jessica Robinson, Ford Director of Electrified Powertrain Engineering Kevin Layden, and Robert Hampshire of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute onto the show to talk about the future of mobility through the lens of Ford’s “City of Tomorrow” concept.
The “City of Tomorrow” is a hypothetical future urban center in which all (or most) of the transportation hurdles of today have been solved, mostly through automation. Ford has delivered numerous lectures on the construct, which is effectively the ultimate destination in mind for its forward-thinking “Smart Mobility” strategy.
Ms. Robinson and Mr. Hampshire each have clear, obvious reasons to be at the table, but why did Autoline choose to have Kevin Layden on? As he says, “[When] you start thinking about the sensors, you start thinking about the computing power… what’s going to power that? And it really makes sense as we put more miles on the road – we put more miles on each vehicle – that efficiency becomes really even more important than it was even with the base vehicle. So we see electrification as being a real important part to the future.”
Mr. Layden raises a good point: as vehicles move toward full autonomy, incorporating ever more electricity-sapping sensors and processing power, their energy requirements will naturally increase – even while powertrains as a whole are becoming more efficient all the time. To avoid taking a big step backward in terms of fuel consumption, electrification is a logical counterpart to autonomy.
For the full Autoline talk on Ford’s “City of Tomorrow” concept, watch the video above.