The CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicles division has explained that his company could launch a few hundred driverless vehicles on the road now, but it’s waiting until it has built up a fleet of “tens of thousands”.
Sherif Marakby has been quoted by MIT Technology Review as saying that “If we wanted to call a launch 100 vehicles [on the road] next year and go into some business, we could do that, [But] we’re an auto company and when we talk about launch at scale, we’re talking tens of thousands vehicles, and [doing that] profitably. That’s different from what others are thinking.”
The report adds that the carmaker is insistent that it is not lagging behind Waymo, which has promised a commercial self-driving taxi service by the end of this year, or GM, which says it will follow suit in 2019.
It also says that its driverless rides could be less than half the price of today’s ride-share journeys, if the cars were used day and night and carried interactive adverts.
On Tuesday 27 November, a group of experts will be debating the motion, “This House believes that driverless vehicles are the biggest opportunity for a step change in mobility and therefore it is right that resources and investment are channelled towards them” at the ITS (UK) Summit in Bristol, southwest England. It is one of a series of discussions taking place in a busy day concentrating on implementation of ITS. A few places remain available at www.itssummit.co.uk.