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Ford planning Self Driving Taxis

Written by admin. Posted in Featured Cars

Published on June 09, 2018 with No Comments

Ford had announced its pilot program for its self-driven cars earlier in February this year. The car maker conducted its pilot not in its home city of Michigan but in downtown Miami and Miami Beach. The test initially separated the delivery from the self-driving cars so that the company could gauge more accurately what worked for both customers as well as companies.

Miami was chosen for multiple reasons. The city’s Mayor, Carlos Gimenez was open to the idea of using driverless cars. Additionally, Miami is notorious for its traffic congestion, which means Ford would have a chance to address this so-called pain point by offering people the option of not having to drive.

While this was not the most stringent of tests, it did give the car maker a chance to see how well self-driving cars could perform under easier conditions before trying them out in more difficult areas such as New York.

The question that most had when the announcement was made with regard to its official launch was whether the company was going to offer this service in one city only – the way that Waymo had. However, according to Ford’s Executive Vice President, Jim Farley told the Financial Times that the company’s autonomous car network would be running to scale in 2021.

Farley stated in the interview that that was the precise reason why they had launched their pilot in Miami in February. It would give the company the ability to do a full-scale launch in the future.

Farley also underlined the fact that this was to be a completely company run service. He said that even through Ford had partnerships with ride sharing companies like Lyft, the company had every intention of owning and operating its own fleet of self-driven cars.

Renault-Nissan is planning to do a similar thing, however, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and other car manufacturers are planning only to develop and manufacture self-driven cars and sell these vehicles to outside services.

While, at this stage, the company stated that its efforts are focused more on delivery rather than on passengers, it is not very surprising that Ford would prefer to have its own in-house autonomous vehicle network. The company’s leadership has repeatedly spoken about how Ford needs to prepare itself for a time when car ownership will no longer be the preferred option for people.

In fact, Ford’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Fields, stated that most businesses considered a 5-year business plan enough for future planning. Fields said that at Ford, they tried to take a point of view of what the world would look like in 10 to 15 years.

The way the company does that, according to Fields, is by looking at current societal trends, consumer preferences as well as factors such as how are cities in different parts of the world growing. The company also considered environmental concerns such as pollution and air quality. Based on such factors, the company then creates a strategy for the future in terms of where do they want to be.

For example, one theory is that currently about 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. In another 15 years, that number will be more like 60% to 70%. Which would mean more congestion that ever.

The company therefore needs to start looking at other options besides selling cars. And this means that Ford needs to start moving towards services. One such offering the company has is its on-demand van service, Chariot, which operates in San Francisco, Seattle, Austin and New York City.

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