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Transportation

Ford Charts Cautious Path Toward Self Driving, Shared Vehicles (reuters.com) 50

Ford Motor Chief Executive Mark Fields is looking for more deals to advance the automaker's expansion into ride services and autonomous vehicles, but will not rush to match big spending by auto industry rivals, he told Reuters. Investors comparing the size of Ford's investments to what other automakers have announced are "looking at the wrong scoreboard," Fields said in an interview at Ford headquarters on Tuesday, ahead of the company's annual late-summer investor meeting. From the report: "Don't confuse activity for progress," Fields said in response to questions about why Ford's future 'mobility' investments appear to lag those of competitors such as General Motors, Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp. Mobility is the term auto companies and investors use to describe the next wave of personal transportation, which is still largely car-based but includes a wide range of services from ride sharing to automated driving and parking.
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Ford Charts Cautious Path Toward Self Driving, Shared Vehicles

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  • Bet against a technology, give it a little lip service. While Lobby to make sure these things never make it on the road. Thus having your competors waste money, while you have the next generation of car without that expensive to make feature. Perhaps a truck with a larger Grill in front.

    • or most of us prefer personal vehicles than paying per mile or whatever to rent a car anytime we need to go somewhere

      • or most of us prefer personal vehicles than paying per mile or whatever to rent a car anytime we need to go somewhere

        Most people prefer to own because owning is cheaper than renting. Once it isn't, they will switch to renting. Even today, where renting is cheaper, such as in dense cities like NYC or SF, many people pay by the mile.

  • Millennials cannot afford cars because they are broke.
    (Don't worry, we'll join them once the TPP kicks in.)

    In the near future, only the rich will own cars, much like only the rich owns planes today.

    fewer owners == fewer cars == fewer car MFRs

    • They're lying. You're not allowed to talk about widening income inequality and the fact that the next two or three generations will be worse off than their parents. As long as we refuse to acknowledge it Millennials will keep blaming themselves for their lower income instead of a system rigged against them. It's been working to transfer wealth from the working class for 40 years now, it's not going to stop now.
  • Let their competitors do all the hard work.

    If self-driving primarily needs software to control off-the-shelf sensors and motors, there is less that can be patented compared to other areas of automotive engineering.

    Algorithms cannot be patented, so advances can be "acquired" by hiring people who understand how it works---you can get the knowledge without paying to discover it yourself.

    With physical products, you protect that research investment with a patent. Since software is copyrighted rather than patente

  • .. when other companies will take the risk and expense for you?
    But at least Ford knows that they better jump on the train (by not concentrating on individual car sales) or risk getting run over.

  • I'm tired of this one. It's not gonna happen on a massive scale. Not unless you build special roads for the self driving cars. Sure, I've heard all the arguments about how AI driven cars will be safer, better drivers than humans. And overall, perhaps so. But overall isn't the standard this will be judged on.

    Simple example: Suppose an AI driver gets into a position where it has to hit either a young kid, or an old lady. Who does it hit? Should it hit the old lady since she's already lived a full
    • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

      What a tiresome argument. Human drivers aren't capable of quickly and ethically trolley problems while controlling a vehicle, and we don't expect them to be. Sure, you may think to yourself "Well I know what one *I'd* pick," but in an emergency you're not gonna react the way you imagine your super-rational brain to.

      The car is programmed "Go the speed limit," "maintain a safe following distance," "obey laws," and "Avoid hitting people," and that's about as far as it goes.

      You don't need to rank human life to

      • What a tiresome argument. Human drivers aren't capable of quickly and ethically trolley problems while controlling a vehicle, and we don't expect them to be. Sure, you may think to yourself "Well I know what one *I'd* pick," but in an emergency you're not gonna react the way you imagine your super-rational brain to.

        The car is programmed "Go the speed limit," "maintain a safe following distance," "obey laws," and "Avoid hitting people," and that's about as far as it goes.

        You don't need to rank human life to have a car that avoids collisions.

        The problem with SDCs isn't going to be the hardware, it's the software. The problem is, software advances are very deceptive. People who don't write software don't get this. Most of the Musk/Tesla/SDC hopers don't get this either. Either their experience is with electrical/electronic engineering or something similar. Most people who've read Horrowitz and Hill don't get this. Most people who've read things like Abelson and Sussman *do* get this. Software progress is deceptive, hardware progress is visible a

    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Simple example: Suppose an AI driver gets into a position where it has to hit either a young kid, or an old lady. Who does it hit? Should it hit the old lady since she's already lived a full life? Should it hit the kid because they bounce better than old ladies, and the overall chance of saving them both is higher?

      But what if the kid has late stage terminal Leukemia? And the old lady has just come back from winning the gold medal in the triathlon at the World Masters games?

      Which one should the AI choose to mow down? How can it tell? Think about the poor AI, don't put it in this position!!! It's all too hard!!!!

    • Suppose an AI driver gets into a position where it has to hit either a young kid, or an old lady. Who does it hit?

      Current sensors can't determine age. This isn't a problem because in an emergency situation most human drivers can't make that distinction either.

      The best answer is: whichever human it would strike with the lowest impact energy. This minimizes the trauma, and it is a factor that normal drivers cannot consider consciously in an emergency.

      Who is liable for the vehicular homicide?

      As long as it's the manufacturer or your insurance company, who cares? Let the courts sort it out.

      If self-driving cars are actually safer, insurance rates should drop anyway

      • You are the first one to actually answer my questions. Perhaps because they were loaded questions. I want to be able to speed. So does the government. They make money on speeding tickets. (Ironically, I usually DO NOT speed). I'm wondering in my questions whether or not the government will mess with speed limits in the case that I am still allowed to drive. They will lower them as they need to make more money on those cars still with drivers. And the SDCs will go those lower speed limits. The quest
  • They don't want to appear to be non-progressive technologically-speaking, so they spend a little money 'researching' it, even if it seems like it's going to be non-viable anytime in the next 20 years or so. Of course at best this will be a sophisticated 'cruise control' and never anything you could actually trust to not kill people by accident if you let it loose all by itself, but even a sophisticated cruise-control would make for a nicely profitable option on expensive luxury vehicles, so I'm sure they'll

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