Bill Ford pitches self-driving, traffic-warning car functions for traffic alleviation
Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford is worried about "global gridlock" over the next four decades. The good news is that he sees a way out of the morass, a plan called the "Blueprint for Mobility" that he outlined during a keynote speech at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where he explained how the automotive and communications industries will need to cooperate to create in-car functions that will help alleviate the impact of more cars on the road.
Ford estimated that the number of light-duty vehicles on the road worldwide will quadruple to four billion over the next four decades. He spoke of congestion issues in places like Sao Paolo, where 100-mile traffic jams have been reported. To alleviate problems like this, automakers and communications companies should use the Blueprint's three-part plan, which focuses on the next 5-7 years, then the 2017-2025 time frame and things that come after 2025.
The key will be collaboration on in-vehicle communications systems over the next few decades in order to offset the effect of such a jump in vehicles, Ford said. For instance, by the end of the decade, Ford projected cars will have systems that will warn drivers of accidents or traffic jams, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems that allow cars that can self-park or self-drive in slow-moving traffic. He also sees an expansion of car sharing programs like ZipCar. By 2025, vehicles may have self-driving capabilities for highway driving, including lane-changing and highway-exiting functions and cloud communication systems that will allow the vehicle to suggest alternate routes.
Finally, between 2025 and 2050, cars may develop auto-pilot type navigation as well as automated valet systems that allow the cars to park themselves, according to Ford. With four billion vehicles on the road, though, finding a place to park may be the bigger problem.Permalink | Email this | Comments