Ford has laid out a broad vision for its future - and set itself an enormous challenge - from rolling out autonomous vehicles for deliveries and ridesharing, to building smart city technology. Uber Technologies agreed to purchase 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo a year ago.
Ford will also work with Silicon Valley transportation software company Autonomic to build a cloud-based platform for base processes, such as payment methods or identity verification.
Jim Farley, president of Global Markets, Ford Motor Company (L) talks with Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford during the Ford keynote at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 9, 2018.
Postmates is an on-demand delivery service that carries packages between any two locations users choose. "One of the key aspects of monetizing the [autonomous vehicles] is to manage the utilization and to make sure that these vehicles are always running, always providing service, and always delivering stuff", says Marakby. Its appeal is offering on-demand deliveries to customers who are short on time. Ford made an investment in Autonomic a year ago. One day earlier, Toyota teased a self-driving Pizza Hut and Amazon vehicle created to make deliveries and serve as a mobile store. Farley also indicated that Ford will begin testing self-driving technology in a new city that will be announced in the coming months.
Also this week, Toyota announced that it was working with a number of companies - including Pizza Hut - to develop p0tential applications for its self-driving vehicles, which could include pizza delivery. Traffic signals would know when vehicles approach, and traffic lights could react accordingly, ensuring drivers won't unnecessarily be held up at intersections.
As well as piloting the vehicle technology, the tests will allow Ford to test its new partnership platform which may underpin its future business model.
In an op-ed, Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services Don Butler indicated that the technology would not require a cellular subscription or traditional wireless network.
For example the company wants to identify "public transport dead zones" and fill the gaps by providing accessibility options with its own autonomous vehicles.
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