Mark Fields, CEO of Ford Motor Co, announced on Monday plans to triple the companies investment in semi-autonomous driving technology. A step in the right direction as carmakers race to get fully autonomous vehicles on the road.
This investment in semi-autonomous controls will lay the groundwork for Ford as it aims to bring fully self driving cars to the the general public.
This investment marks the expansion of Ford’s Smart Mobility Plan. In the future Ford’s plan is to transition from carmaker to an auto and mobility company. Essentially Ford will be building autonomous and semi-autonomous cars too.
To achieve success with both autonomous and semi-autonomous cars Ford will be taking two different paths. There will be one team dedicated to developing autonomous technology while the other team will be focusing on semi-autonomous driver assistance technology, such as Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.
Ken Washington, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering said “The use of semi-autonomous functions such as Traffic Jam Assist and Fully Active Park Assist make driving easier and more enjoyable for our customers.”.
Ford unveiled the new Ford Kuga SUV at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. The new Kuga offers technologies and updates to make driving safer, simpler, more enjoyable and more affordable. Innovative driver assistance technologies and Ford’s new SYNC 3 communications and entertainment will all be features of the new Kuga. Ford also announced today that its SYNC 3 communications technology is coming to Europe.
Ford will have to stave off stiff competition from technology giants such as Google, but Fields is confident that they can do so, saying “We’ve been focused on autonomous vehicles for more than a decade and this year we’ll have the largest autonomous test fleet among all major automakers”.
“As we look to the future, it is clear we are on the cusp of a revolution in mobility – from car sharing to autonomous driving to the customer experience… Technology and innovation provide us with the opportunity to address these trends and to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.” said Fields.
Fields Spoke this morning at the MWC 2016.