Ford's future tech plans
Ford has announced its Smart Mobility plan at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, by confirming 25 mobility experiments, which will take place around the world this year to test urban transportation ideas.
The experiments are split globally with nine in Europe and Africa, eight in North America, seven in Asia and one in South America. Each experiment is 'designed to anticipate what customers will want and need in tomorrow's transportation ecosystem' according to Ford.
"We see a world where vehicles talk to one another, drivers and vehicles communicate with the city infrastructure to relieve congestion, and people routinely share vehicles or multiple forms of transportation for their daily commute," said Ford president and CEO, Mark Fields. "The experiments we're undertaking today will lead to an all-new model of transportation and mobility within the next ten years and beyond."
A lot of these schemes revolve around car-sharing, with experiments to be held in London focusing on that potential solution - specifically with a fleet of Focus Electric and Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost cars made available for short-term rent across the conurbation (Ford is calling this City Driving On-Demand). Also tested will be Data Driven Insurance (personal policies based on monitoring individual vehicle use), Dynamic Social Shuttle (an on-demand vehicle ride service offering one-way point-to-point journeys, said to be more convenient than a bus and cheaper than a taxi) and Painless Parking (a smartphone app helping drivers find appropriate parking spaces).
Ford also highlighted the semi-autonomous vehicles it has on the road today and fully autonomous vehicles now in development for the future, all of which could help facilitate future transport solutions.
Is there more?
The experiments are said to address four global megatrends: explosive population growth; an expanding middle class; air quality and public health concerns; and changing customer attitudes and priorities. Ford will lead 14 of the 25 projects, with 11 being part of the company's Innovate Mobility Challenge Series.
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