Opinion

‘An autonomous future needs collaboration like we’ve never seen before’

As Ford boss Jim Hackett delivers his vision for the future at CES, Steve Fowler looks at what it will take to achieve it

Ford CEO Jim Hackett took centre stage at the Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas last week to give his vision for an autonomous future in the world’s increasingly densely populated cities.

The tech showcase is becoming more and more important to car companies and their growing number of hi-tech suppliers, and Hackett used his keynote address to introduce us to Ford’s vision of a Living Street. “We can redesign transportation in our cities,” Hackett told us.

Driverless cars explained

Ford is clearly pinning a lot on an autonomous future and Hackett proclaimed that his company wants to be a leader. Working with companies like Lyft on autonomous taxis and firms like Postmates and Domino’s Pizza on driverless deliveries is a good start, but Ford is not alone.

Rival car companies at CES were also talking about their autonomous plans and boasting of the Silicon Valley companies that they’re working with – VW and Hyundai both announced that they’re working with start-up Aurora on self-driving tech.

For a truly autonomous future, as Ford pointed out, we’ll have to have cars talking to each other and talking to their surroundings, too. But will they all share a common language? Jim Hackett promised that Ford will be developing its technology on an open-source platform that others can share. “Ford has a history of democratising technology,” he said.

But can we believe other car makers will think the same way? And what about cities? Will London’s electronic infrastructure speak the same digital language as Berlin, Los Angeles and Shanghai? For the safer, cleaner, more convenient autonomous future we’re so excited about, we’ve got to see levels of collaboration across the world that we’ve never seen before. For the sake of progress, let’s hope that happens.

What’s your take on Ford’s vision for an autonomous future? Let us know in the comments!

Recommended

Iconic Ford Escort Mk2 is reborn by specialist MST
Ford Escort Mk2 rally
News

Iconic Ford Escort Mk2 is reborn by specialist MST

£65,000 Ford Escort rally car recreation gives fast Ford fans a Singer of their own to aspire to
8 Jan 2021
Team Fordzilla P1 hypercar concept revealed as full-size model
Ford

Team Fordzilla P1 hypercar concept revealed as full-size model

Ford’s gamer-created virtual race car makes the move from digital to reality as static concept car
18 Dec 2020
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition revealed
Ford

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition revealed

Hottest iteration of Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer 480bhp and Tesla Model Y-matching performance when sales begin next year
1 Dec 2020
Ford van models: range, specs, prices and how to choose one
Ford

Ford van models: range, specs, prices and how to choose one

We dive into the Ford commercial vehicle range from Transit to Ranger to explain how to find the best vehicle for your needs
5 Oct 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 Mercedes EQA electric crossover arrives with 302-mile range
Mercedes EQA - front
Mercedes EQA

New 2021 Mercedes EQA electric crossover arrives with 302-mile range

The new Mercedes EQA is a premium rival for the Volkswagen ID.3 and Kia e-Niro, with a maximum claimed range of 302 miles
20 Jan 2021
BMW, Mercedes and Tesla owners could be at risk of higher insurance premiums
bmw x5 m50d tracking front
News

BMW, Mercedes and Tesla owners could be at risk of higher insurance premiums

Raw, uncapped insurance group rating data could be used by insurers to increase premiums on various high-end cars
19 Jan 2021
New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time
Skoda Fabia spy
Skoda Fabia

New Skoda Fabia spied in production panelling for first time

Latest Skoda Fabia supermini is due to arrive later this year – and our spy photographers have spotted a mule in sporty Monte Carlo trim
20 Jan 2021