Is Ford Lagging in Self-Driving Car Development?



Self-driving car development

In this series, we’ve seen how mainstream automakers General Motors (GM), Honda (HMC), and Toyota (TM) are speeding up their autonomous vehicle and mobility services programs. GM and Toyota have both recently collaborated (XLY) with SoftBank to expand their presence in the on-demand mobility segment.

Now let’s take a closer look at Ford (F), the second-largest US automaker, and its plans for self-driving car development and mobility services.

Is Ford lagging behind its peers?

In August 2016, Ford’s former CEO Mark Fields revealed that by 2021, the company will begin mass-producing autonomous vehicles for ride-sharing services. Field promised that these SAE level 4–capable autonomous vehicles will not have a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals.

In May 2017, Fields was replaced by Jim Hackett. In August 2017, Hackett, in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, said that autonomous vehicles “will be a progressive thing, just like computing.” While commenting on Ford’s 2021 deadline, he suggested that fully autonomous vehicles that can handle all driving conditions in any type of weather could take longer than 2021 to hit the roads.

Hackett’s plan for Ford

A year ago, on October 3, 2017, Hackett held a strategic update session. He updated investors about the company’s plan to stay focused on new high-growth potential business opportunities such as personal mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles.

In July 2018, Ford formed a dedicated division called Ford Autonomous Vehicles to speed up its self-driving vehicle development. On September 26, Ford announced its collaboration with Uber and Lyft to share data aimed to improve urban mobility. Despite these recent developments, Ford seems to be lagging behind General Motors, its home market peer, in mobility services and concrete plans to mass-produce autonomous vehicles.

To learn what’s ahead in the markets in October, be sure to read October Should Be Full of Thrills and Chills in Market Realist’s CEO Market Views.

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