By CRM staff
Toronto, Ontario – April 12, 2019 — In this week’s Autonomous Report, a CEO from a major OEM casts doubt on the public’s timing expectations for autonomous vehicles as self-driving cars as self-driving vehicles roam around a major European city.
We’ve been hearing about it for years and expecting it any time now. OEMs have been making promises to have fully autonomous vehicles out on the roads by now, yet here we are. At a Ford event on Tuesday, the CEO of Ford, Jim Hackett openly stated that the industry had “overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles.”
Hackett also announced that Ford’s first self-driving car is still scheduled to be coming in 2021, but “its applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced because the problem is so complex.”
In 2016, the Ford CEO then, Mark Fields said the company would have thousands of fully self-driving vehicles ready for car-share and ride-share fleets by 2021. But now Hackett realizes they may have got ahead of themselves.
According to Bloomberg, Hackett said that when their autonomous future arrives it will be bigger than big. “When we break through, it will change the way your toothpaste is delivered. Logistics and ride structures and cities all get redesigned. I won’t be in charge of Ford when this is going on, but I see it clearly… When we bring this thing to market, it’s going to be really powerful. There’s probably going to be alliance partners that we haven’t announced yet that will make it more certain that we don’t take on all the risks ourselves financially.”
But Hackett isn’t the only one who is openly admitting autonomous cars are still a long way away. Chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group Raquel Urtasun says that the company expects it will be a long time before self-driving cars are produced on a larger scale. “Self-driving cars are going to be in our lives. The question of when is not clear yet,” Urtasun said. “To have it at scale is going to take a long time.
To estimate when these vehicles will be on our roads is very uncertain. “What is clear is that in a 10-year timeframe there will be a mix of both (self-driving and human-controlled cars),” she said.
Volkswagen Autonomous Vehicle Testing
Volkswagen has taken its autonomous vehicle testing to the streets of Hamburg, Germany. The carmaker announced last week that its first tests of vehicles with a Level 4 autonomy are underway. Five electric Volkswagen cars have been fitted with the autonomous technology for this testing. The vehicles are designed to handle complex traffic situations without the help of a driver, although one is there to intervene if anything does happen. These cars are equipped with 11 laser scanners, seven radars and 14 cameras. Volkswagen has also given them the power of 15 laptops within it, allowing up to five gigabytes of data to be communicated every minute.
According to CNN, the vehicles are driving three kilometres on Hamburg urban roads to test out the new signals and other traffic management systems that have been installed to work with autonomous driving. The goal is to upgrade to 6 kilometres by 2020.