Ford CEO Jim Hackett admits that autonomous cars, still planned for 2021, will be far from fully-autonomous when they arrive given the sheer complexity of the issue.
In other words, Ford autonomous cars may not be all that autonomous. We’ve debated the pros and cons and expectations of autonomous car technology internally for a long while and the one thing that we always agree upon is timelines. No matter how evolved the technology has become, and how many test-fleets there are on the road at the moment, nothing and no one is quite ready for mainstream application yet.
Hackett admitted that “we overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles” and that “its applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex.” In other words, the autonomous cars that are expected to hit the road in roughly two years will be limited to a specific area, and nothing more.
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Billions upon billions of dollars have been invested in this technology, $4 billion from Ford alone, and yet we may still be years, a decade or more away from truly autonomous cars. The question we ask ourselves now is at what point will a company like Ford, which is not in the greatest of financial health, decide to back out? How many more billions before a line is drawn.
Companies like Uber, Google, Waymo and others are also working hard at bringing the tech to market. Perhaps before long, a pooling of resources from all the big players will become necessary in order to advance self-driving cars.
As far as we’re concerned, we’re in no rush…