Ford CEO Wants To Sell Driverless Cars By 2025
The goal doesn’t come without its challengesby Kirby Garlitos, on LISTEN 03:02
Count Ford in as one of the many automakers pushing to develop autonomous driving technology but while others are developing their own tech for their own specific purposes, the Blue Oval is shooting for the stars with plans to start selling cars equipped with the technology to the public by 2025.
That bold proclamation came from no less than CEO Mark Fields, who made the plans known in a speech at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s not the first time that Fields has addressed the issue of mobility; he’s also made it a priority to introduce robot taxis and sell them to ride sharing services by 2021.
Given the changing landscape of the auto industry, it’s not uncommon for a company to start reevaluating its place in the industry, especially when a revolutionary technology like autonomous driving is on the cusp of redefining the business altogether. Fields believes that there’s a place for Ford to stake a big piece of that pie if the company can achieve its intended timetable.
That’s not to say that the automaker will be rushing the development and Fields himself stopped short of making any over-the-top promises until he gives a more detailed forecast of the company’s autonomous future. A meeting with investors is scheduled for Wednesday, September 13, and that’s where the CEO will pull the curtain on the company’s plans moving forward.
That said, the goal to sell self-driving cars by 2025 is a real thing and Mark Fields wants everybody to know that when it comes out with its technology, it’s going to be “accessible to millions.”
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Give Ford credit for making its plans known
In the midst of everything that’s going on with the development of autonomous driving technology, a lot of automakers have actually kept mum on the specifics of their plans. There are some that have given timetables but as far as concrete goals are concerned, most have been guarded on what they’re specifically trying to achieve with respects to their future models.
So in some ways, Ford deserves some credit for not only setting a 2021 timetable for its robot taxis – no steering wheel, no pedals – but for also pinning down 2025 as the year it plans to roll out self-driving cars in the market. It’s a risky tactic but it’s also an appreciated one because the transparency helps keep Ford on its toes when it’s in the middle of testing out and developing its own technology.
That said, the risk part in that equation is also very real because Ford is essentially pinning a nine-year timetable to have robot cars available in the market. Given where the development of autonomous driving tech is at this point, it’s unclear how fast or how efficient the company’s developments are going to be. At the very least, having this timetable also puts Ford’s efforts in developing the tech on the spotlight, something a lot of automakers have been wary of finding themselves in.
Only time will tell if Ford can accomplish its goal, but rest assured, it’s not going to be sitting idle trying to get there.