Ford Gives Updates On AV Development

As Ford Motor Company shifts their focus to the next generation of transportation, the company is providing a number of periodic updates on their development of self-driving cars. Ford has invested about $4 billion in the development of autonomous vehicles as they look to pioneer cars and technology that make both business and traveling more efficient.

The CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, Sherif Marakby, recently said that the company is working to make sure their AVs are ready for the streets and not solely the first AVs on the road. This slow and steady approach has been a key facet of Ford’s AV development as they work to ensure that their vehicles are safe, reliable and fully functional.

For example, Marakby wrote in a recent Medium post that Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based self-driving technology company working hand-in-hand with Ford, has been working to ensure not just that the technology works effectively, but that it blends in with human behavior on the road.

“Argo is sharply focused on developing vehicles that seamlessly blend in with traffic and drive naturally based on the unique road user behavior in each city,” he wrote.

Ford is highly focused on “transportation-as-a-service” when it comes to self-driving cars, offering advanced business solutions that meet the transportation needs of people in under-served communities. The company has already launched ride sharing and ride-hailing services for customers in need, and AVs will be a useful tool in Ford’s business arsenal once they are ready.

Ford has already been testing out vehicles to enhance businesses across the country, partnering with Wal-Mart and Postmates to deliver goods without a driver. Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC’s Director of Business Development Brian Wolf said these services will add convenience to the lives of customers.

“After surviving a tough day at work or managing the kids’ schedules, the thought of leaving the house again to run to the store can feel downright exhausting — especially if stores around you aren’t conveniently located,” Wolf wrote in a blog post. “At Ford, we believe the advent of self-driving vehicles opens up the potential to ease some of life’s pain points and markedly expand affordable access to transportation and goods delivery.”

Amy Marentic, the global marketing director for Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, said that increased productivity and extra time is a significant benefit that self-driving cars will provide once they become commonplace on streets.

“Every time I see our self-driving cars successfully navigate urban streets, I’m easily carried away thinking about how much they will improve everyday life,” she wrote in a recent Medium post. “It’s this element that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough: The ability to empower people and businesses to free themselves from many of the mundane tasks of life.”

AVs, she says, will allow people to focus more on what’s important — getting work done, catching up on rest, and the like — by taking the driving out of the equation.

“We’re developing services that should take some of the load off people’s shoulders and make their lives a little bit easier,” she said. “Ultimately, we all know that time is something you can’t buy. But with self-driving vehicles, very soon we’ll have the opportunity to give people time back — and help them be just a little more awesome!”

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