Innovation is important to Ford, and that’s why we’ve committed $4 billion towards Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. The new LLC will lead efforts in our launch of a self-driving car to the general public as early as 2021, as well as other autonomous vehicle initiatives. At the head of the LLC is Sherif Marakby, who gained experienced with autonomous vehicles when he worked with Uber to help increase safety within ride sharing autonomous vehicles. He returned to Ford in 2018 eager to apply his new knowledge base in his new role.
Residents of Miami were given the first taste of our autonomous initiatives when we partnered with Dominos to release automated pizza delivery vehicles. Pizza fans within the city could have their pizza delivered without ever interacting with a person. Approaching a self-driving car for pizza pick-up is a new concept for many, and we were eager to gain insight into some of our unanswered questions.
- What does the business model look like for self-driving cars?
- Will customers understand how to interact with the vehicle during delivery?
- How would a self-driving vehicle benefit the consumer?
Our testing is far from over, as we want to perfect the vehicle before it is released nationwide. However, the partnership with Dominos has allowed us to study the process and improve our model. We are not just focusing on the technology behind the vehicle, but the user experience. The LLC consolidates the different initiatives to give a consistent approach to the direction we want to go. It is important to us to serve our customers in the best possible way while using the most advanced technology in the industry.
With new advancements, we continue our dedication to safety. Our self-driving test vehicles are easy to spot with a clear “autonomous vehicle” label. Each vehicle also has a researcher riding along in the vehicle at all times who is not only monitoring vehicle performance, but taking in valuable research about people’s interactions with the vehicle.
Here at Ford, we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead of us and we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the most advanced technology available to keep you moving forward.