Ford’s future focus with Raj Nair | Disrupt NY 2017 | Summary and Q&A

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May 15, 2017
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Ford’s future focus with Raj Nair | Disrupt NY 2017

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Summary

In this video, Raj Nair, the CTO of Ford, discusses the future of the automotive industry, including autonomous vehicles and mobility services. He talks about Ford's approach to innovation and partnerships, as well as their focus on building driver's cars like the 2017 Ford GT. Nair emphasizes the importance of technology in the automotive industry, from carbon fiber construction to advanced aerodynamics, and explains how these advancements will contribute to improved fuel efficiency. He also touches on the emotional aspect of buying a new vehicle and the increasing interest in ride-sharing and ride-hailing services. Nair discusses Ford's investment in autonomy, including the acquisition of Argo AI, and the challenges and opportunities in creating autonomous vehicles. He concludes by mentioning Ford's goal of offering a level 4 autonomous vehicle by 2021 and their interest in fleet ownership and management.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you tell us about the 2017 Ford GT?

The 2017 Ford GT is a driver's car that was built to celebrate Ford's win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It features carbon fiber construction, advanced aerodynamics, and EcoBoost technology, making it a powerful and efficient vehicle. While it is not an autonomous car, it offers an exciting and emotional driving experience.

Q: Why did Ford build the 2017 Ford GT?

Ford built the 2017 Ford GT to celebrate their win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It serves as a symbol of their success and showcases their commitment to performance and innovation. While it may not be accessible to everyone due to its price and limited production, it represents Ford's dedication to creating exciting and high-quality vehicles.

Q: How does the 2017 Ford GT contribute to advancements in technology?

The 2017 Ford GT incorporates advanced technology, such as carbon fiber construction and active aerodynamics, which helps to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, it utilizes Ford's EcoBoost technology, a proprietary combination of direct injection, port injection, and turbocharging, to generate impressive horsepower from a 3.5-liter V6 engine. These technological advancements not only enhance the performance of the Ford GT but also lay the groundwork for future innovation in the automotive industry.

Q: Is there any connection between the 2017 Ford GT and autonomous vehicles?

While the 2017 Ford GT showcases Ford's focus on driving and performance, it does not directly relate to autonomy. However, the technology used in the Ford GT, such as carbon fiber construction and advanced aerodynamics, can be applied to future autonomous vehicles to improve their efficiency and overall performance. Ford recognizes the importance of both driving experiences and autonomous technology in the automotive industry.

Q: How does Ford view personal ownership of vehicles?

Ford sees personal ownership of vehicles as an emotional and critical aspect of the automotive industry. While there is growing interest in ride-sharing and ride-hailing services, many people still value having their own vehicle. Ford understands the emotional connection people have with their cars and aims to create products that reflect their personality and lifestyle. However, Ford is also exploring new ownership models and mobility services to adapt to changing consumer preferences.

Q: What are the technical complexities involved in building vehicles?

Building vehicles is a complex process that requires meticulous engineering. Modern vehicles have a significant amount of software code, often surpassing the complexity of a Boeing triple7 aircraft. Additionally, the automotive industry operates on a large scale, with vehicles and components being produced in the hundreds of thousands or millions. Ensuring the safety and reliability of each vehicle while meeting regulatory requirements and consumer expectations is a challenging task. Furthermore, vehicles are subject to rigorous testing and validation processes to ensure their performance and durability.

Q: What is Ford's view on the future of personal mobility?

Ford believes that the future of personal mobility will be shaped by factors such as electrification, connectivity, autonomous technology, and changing consumer preferences. They see personal mobility as a rapidly evolving space that presents both challenges and opportunities. Ford is investing in new technologies, partnerships, and business models to adapt to these changes and provide innovative solutions for personal transportation. While there will still be a place for personal vehicle ownership, the rise of ride-sharing and mobility services will likely create a more diversified and interconnected mobility ecosystem.

Q: How does Ford approach autonomy and mobility services?

Ford takes a strategic approach to autonomy and mobility services. They see these areas as integral to their future and invest in both internal development and external partnerships. Ford's acquisition of Argo AI and investments in other companies reflect their commitment to building autonomous vehicles. They are also experimenting with mobility services, such as chariot, where they own and operate fleets of vehicles for transportation purposes. Ford aims to leverage its automotive expertise and experience in fleet management to create a comprehensive mobility ecosystem that incorporates autonomous vehicles.

Q: Does Ford plan to partner with other companies in the autonomous vehicle space?

Ford is open to partnerships with other companies in the autonomous vehicle space. They recognize that different companies bring unique strengths and capabilities to the table. Ford has engaged in partnerships with companies like Argo AI and valid ein for their expertise in autonomous vehicle technology, Lidar, and machine learning. However, any partnership must be mutually beneficial and align with Ford's overall strategy and goals.

Q: How does Ford plan to achieve its goal of offering a level 4 autonomous vehicle by 2021?

Ford is focused on developing the necessary technology and infrastructure to offer a level 4 autonomous vehicle by 2021. They are investing in the development of a virtual driver system as well as the autonomous vehicle platform, which includes various safety and backup systems required for an autonomous vehicle. Additionally, they are exploring the ownership and management of autonomous vehicle fleets. Ford aims to ensure that all aspects of the autonomous vehicle stack, including technology, production, and fleet management, come together seamlessly to offer a safe and reliable autonomous driving experience.

Takeaways

Raj Nair, the CTO of Ford, highlights the automotive industry's shift towards autonomy and mobility services. While Ford continues to build driver's cars like the 2017 Ford GT, they also recognize the importance of technology advancements, such as carbon fiber construction and advanced aerodynamics, which contribute to fuel efficiency and performance. Ford is open to partnerships and acquisitions that complement their goals, as evidenced by their acquisition of Argo AI and partnerships with other companies. They are committed to offering a level 4 autonomous vehicle by 2021 and are exploring different ownership and management models for autonomous vehicle fleets. Overall, Ford aims to evolve into an automotive and mobility company, embracing the challenges and opportunities of the future.

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