Ford To Create Artificial Intelligence Team for Autonomous Tech Development

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Ford Motor Company plans to accelerate its autonomous technology development by creating a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team. The original Detroit automaker fully understands the future of automobile technology and does not plan on missing out on the growing opportunities. Ken Washington, Ford's Vice President of research and advanced engineering and Chief Technology Officer, stated, “the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the way we get around  —  even in just the next five to 10 years  —  is potentially enormous.”

So, to get ahead of the curve, Ford is collaborating with Argo AI, a startup artificial intelligence company. Argo was co-founded by Bryan Salesky, a former Google autonomous car project team member, and Peter Rander, an engineer for Uber. Per The Detroit News, Washington says that Ford's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team will work with Argo, who will lead the development and design of the brains of Ford’s self driving vehicles, in an effort to advance the automaker's autonomous technology. More specifically, Washington writes on his blog that the main functions of the team will be to evaluate and analyze vehicle sensor technology, machine learning methods, and the development of personal mobility devices, drones and other aerial robotic mechanisms. The team will be working in Dearborn, Michigan with a small branch located next to University of Michigan’s MCity research center for autonomous and connected vehicles.

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Ford plans to have its self driving vehicle available to the market by 2021. The car will be fully autonomous, and will not include a steering wheel or pedals. Washington told The Detroit Free Press that they are making great progress toward their goal. He stated that the first fleet will most likely be released within the confines of a “geofence,” or virtual geographic boundary, inside a city or campus.

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However, the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team may not only be limited to the advancement of autonomous technology. Ford plans to use the team for ergonomic research as well. The company wants robots to take the place of workers in roles that are more dangerous and life-threatening, in the hopes of reducing worker injuries and in building a safer working environment for all everyone. Aside from their work with Argo, Ford wants its team to continue building relationships with other startup companies and even lead projects with universities including Stanford University, M.I.T., University of Michigan, Purdue University, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and others.

Ford clearly has grand ambitions for the near future and is making bold moves to ensure that they will be successful in their driver-less car pursuits. While autonomous vehicles may help reduce the number of car accident fatalities in the future, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of highway crashes are currently caused by human error. So, until automakers like Ford are successful in implementing autonomous cars into our everyday lives, humans must remember to follow the rules of the road.

Ford should be proud of its Ford Fusion series, one of the main models that is being converted to become autonomous. This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a 5 star safety rating, and the U.S. News gave it a 9.3 out of 10. It is important to note however that while these are excellent safety ratings, no vehicle is considered to be invincible. Any vehicle controlled by a human is potentially prone to being involved in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident or accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our firm helps car accidents identify and receive any benefits they may be intitled to, under Michigan law.

"Taxibots" Could Eliminate 9 out of 10 Cars

Self-driving cars might have a bigger impact on traffic congestion than previously thought. More specifically, autonomous taxis are changing the way companies such as Uber and Lyft want to do business.  A group of transportation experts at the Organization for Cooperation and Development discovered results from a trip in Portugal, which showed that the mainstreaming of self-driving cars will eliminate cars by 90%, acres of land will open up, and will decrease commute times by 10%.

These “taxibots,” as described by the researchers, will be a combination of mass carpooling and UPS delivery intelligence. These vehicles will navigate through cities and match compatible carpool routes based on a mathematical algorithm. Under this type of system, 9 out of 10 cars would no longer be necessary and eliminate the need for public transportation. 

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The evolution of taxibots would also open up large chunks of space in cities, which would allow for more development in downtown areas. The study finds that without the need for individual ownership of cars, a city like Lisbon, Portugal would have around 210 football fields worth of extra space. There would also be significant savings for consumers in the area. The mere presence of parking spaces can increase the cost of construction, which leads to development costs getting passed on to consumers, in the form of steeper prices on goods and rent. A taxibot system would eliminate the need for parking spaces, thereby decreasing consumer costs. 

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One of the leading companies looking into driver-free taxis is Uber. The ever-popular taxi service has recently opened a new facility dedicated to mainstreaming this technology, which would completely automate their workforce. General Motors Company and Lyft Inc. will also begin testing electric driver-less taxis for public roads. The Wall Street Journal reported that GM invested around $500 million in Lyft in order to compete with the Silicon Valley minds in a battle to own the driver-less taxi industry. 

Driver-less cars are the way of the future which will virtually eliminate car collisions. For now, drivers must be extra cautious while driving, as accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an accident of any scale, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Accidents can lead to problems down the road, such as trouble paying medical bills, loss of employment, and lingering injuries. Our attorneys can help get you the answers and help you need taking care of these issues. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consulation.