Ford Motors Makes GROUNDBREAKING Announcement, Peaking MAJOR Curiosity!

By Javier Sanchez | Sunday, 16 June 2024 04:30 PM
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Image Credit : Photo by DealerInspire Image Library

Ford Motor Co. is on the cusp of a technological breakthrough that could revolutionize the way we drive.

The automaker's CEO, Jim Farley, recently revealed that the company is inching closer to offering a feature that will allow drivers to take their eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel. This technology, which could be available as early as 2026, might make Ford the first mass-market car brand to offer what is known as Level 3 autonomy, according to American Military News.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg TV's David Westin, Farley said, “We’re getting really close. We can do it now pretty regularly with a prototype, but doing it in a cost-effective way is just the progress we’re going to need to make.” This level of autonomy would enable the car to take over the driving task under certain conditions, freeing up the driver to engage in other activities.

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Farley further explained, “Level 3 autonomy will allow you to go hands and eyes off the road on the highway in a couple years so then your car becomes like an office. You could do a conference call and all sorts of stuff.” This suggests a future where commuting could be transformed into productive time, a significant shift in the traditional concept of driving.

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However, the road to autonomous driving is not without its challenges. Ford, along with other automakers like General Motors Co., currently offers hands-free driving features that use eye-tracking devices to ensure the driver remains focused on the road. Ford's system, BlueCruise, is currently under investigation by US safety regulators following fatal crashes. Other companies, including Tesla Inc., are also under federal scrutiny for accidents involving their semi-autonomous systems.

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Despite these hurdles, Farley remains optimistic about the future of autonomous driving. His prediction comes after Ford shut down its autonomous affiliate, Argo AI, less than two years ago, citing that achieving full self-driving was too distant a goal.

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In contrast to Mercedes-Benz, which offers an eyes-off-the-road feature in the US that operates at speeds below 40 miles per hour on pre-approved freeways, Ford's system is projected to operate at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour on the highway, albeit only under clear skies. “We only think we can do it on sunny days,” Farley said. “Heavy rain and stuff makes it difficult to do it at 80 miles an hour.”

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Ford's vision extends beyond just the technology. The company is keen to generate recurring revenue through subscription services for features like BlueCruise. Farley sees these high-margin software services as a way to stabilize the cyclical nature of the car business.

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Already selling software systems to its commercial customers to manage their fleet logistics, Farley views semi-autonomous features like eyes-off-the-road driving as a means to entice individual retail customers to purchase software subscriptions. “BlueCruise has been so much more popular than we expected, which is hands free,” Farley said. “It’s kind of the step before you get to eyes off.”

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As Ford continues to innovate and push the boundaries of automotive technology, the future of driving could be closer than we think. With the potential for Level 3 autonomy just around the corner, the traditional driving experience may soon be a thing of the past.

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