Fields Outlines New Aspects of Ford Smart Mobility Plan
Ford may not be grabbing the headlines that its competitors garner for its work on autonomous driving, but it is nonetheless hard at work to make self-driving cars a reality. During his appearance at the International CAR Symposium in Bochum, Germany, Ford President and CEO, Mark Fields, discussed the company’s plans for innovations in autonomous driving and connectivity as part of its Ford Smart Mobility plan.
“Without question, we are embarking on one of the most transformative eras in the history of the auto industry—and in the history of Ford,” Fields said during his keynote address. “This can be a threat or an opportunity. We see it as an opportunity to provide real solutions and exciting new products for millions—and ultimately help change the way the world moves.”
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It was announced today that the Ford European Research & Innovation Center, Aachen, Germany, and the Technology and Innovation Management Institute of RWTH Aachen University are teaming up to create the Personal Mobility Experience Innovation project. This means that Ford and the university will be studying the operations of innovators like Amazon and Apple and four “megatrends” that include: the need for better transportation infrastructure with the increase in number of “megacities,” the expansion of the middle class, focus on air quality control, and the rise of Generation Z.
Ford will also be contributing to the UK’s Autodrive initiative, which means that it will be a part of an ongoing study to determine how vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity can lead to the practical application of self-driving cars in everyday life.
“At Ford, we view ourselves as both a mobility and an auto company, as we drive innovation in every part of our business,” said Fields. “These new collaborations will help us better understand and anticipate customers’ wants and needs, especially on connectivity, mobility and autonomous vehicles. We are working to make these new technologies accessible to everyone, not just luxury customers.”
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Current model year Ford vehicles are available with semi-autonomous features including Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, and Active Park Assist. A new technology—Traffic Jam Assist—is forthcoming.