We live in an age when technologies that were once exclusive have become part of our everyday lives. This is evident in our smart phones and in cars that can park themselves. In the automotive industry, Ford Motor Company has been known for spearheading the democratization of technology, and has transformed itself into a tech company for the masses.
The American carmaker introduced us to safety and convenience features that were once unheard of in non-luxury vehicles. And just to refresh your memory, over a century ago Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford put the world on wheels when he made the automobile accessible to the masses.
So what's next for the Blue Oval boys?
The company's CEO, Mark Fields, wants to put the world in self-driving mobile computers by making autonomous vehicles accessible to regular folks.
In an interview with Fortune, Fields said autonomous vehicles are important for the company, but it's more important to look at it as a whole. Ford calls it Ford Smart Mobility. It's more than just about being in autonomous vehicles--it's about connectivity, mobility and ride-sharing.
Furthermore, he added that the number one thing that motivates the company is "innovating to make things accessible to everyone," a philosophy that can be traced back to Henry Ford. Fields also added that the building blocks of full autonomy are the company's semi-autonomous features, a number of which can be seen on today's Ford vehicles.
When asked about the cost of added components necessary to make these autonomous vehicles, Fields said the company is always searching for ways to improve performance and lower its cost. More computer processing power will be required in autonomous vehicles, but the cost of microprocessors has continued to decrease. Scale is another important factor, and according to Fields, Ford has "pretty good scale."
Will autonomous vehicles dominate the roads in the future? Will these be smart enough to survive chaotic and congested city roads like ours? Only time will tell.
While self-driving technology sounds futuristic-cool--like something straight out of a sci-fi movie--the car enthusiasts in us wish that cars meant to be driven will still have their place in the future.
How about autonomous public transportation? That sounds like an interesting idea.