By Ho Young Won, Freelance Writer for Polaris Office
San Francisco, CA — On Wednesday, Ford CEO Mark Fields stated that there is a high possibility of self-driving, fully autonomous cars on U.S. roads in the span of four years.
Fields claimed that Ford would have fully autonomous cars on any road recognized by high-definition maps. The only things keeping this technology from becoming available, he says, are the government regulations.
However, seeing how inefficiently the government is handling the regulations for any new technology including drones, Fields’ prediction seems highly ambitious. Competitors such as Google and other large automakers have much longer time frames for self-driving cars on public roads.
The ambition is evident in his other comments as he wants Ford to change transportation as much as Henry Ford changed the industry a century ago. He says that the company’s strategy is “having one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow”.
Huge tech companies such as Apple and Google have also been working on fully autonomous cars which may disrupt the automobile market. Fields is aware of this and desires to work with smaller tech companies in order to compete with Apple and Google who have the resources to develop highly advanced cars. However, he plans Ford to have some cars to run Apple and Google’s operating systems for automobiles.
It is a strange time for automakers as companies from other industries are starting to seep into the market. Fields’ ambition may be pie-in-the-sky, but it will push the competing automakers and tech companies to advance the transportation of tomorrow.