Ford has several autonomous automobiles in testing right now and plans to have 100 on the road this year. Ford CEO Jim Hackett has stated that Ford overestimated the arrival of autonomous autos. Ford Chairman, Bill Ford, has disagreed with those who say that Ford is in the slow lane when it comes to autonomous auto development.
Bill Ford says that Argo, Ford’s self-driving system, is “incredibly competitive.” The executive says that Ford wants to “take great care” before people get into the vehicles. Ford is in Israel to launch an innovation center this month and has been in the country looking for technology to help the automaker develop autonomous cars.
Bill Ford says that the timing for marketing self-driving cars is unclear because there are safety issues that need to be resolved. The executive knows that Ford is dealing with people’s lives when it comes to autonomous autos and that the company has to be sure the vehicles are ready for all conditions they might encounter.
Ford is working with several technology firms in Israel on tech that will make autonomous autos a reality, companies like Intel-owned Mobileye. Bill Ford says that “it’s unknown” when perception will be good enough that the car will be ready for mass adoption. He does say that Ford will be sure it is “incredibly comfortable” with the autonomous vehicles before they launch.
Ford is still actively looking for more partners to help foot the bill for developing the tech, and when its tech is ready for prime time, it will be seen in multiple brands. Argo AI is a Ford-owned company that is providing autonomous vehicle services to multiple partners who offer the tech to customers under their brand names. The cost of developing autonomous systems is skyrocketing, and more money is needed to make self-driving cars a reality for the masses.