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Ford Exec Details OEM’s Self-Driving Plans

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March 1, 2018—Matt Drennan-Scace, the communications manager for Ford Canada, recently explained the manufacturer’s plans in the autonomous vehicle space, at the 2018 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. And, the Ford executive told itbusiness.ca that the OEM remains committed to putting a service autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021.

“We’ve committed to a purpose-build autonomous vehicle on a hybrid platform by 2021 that will service in the ride hailing, ride sharing, or goods delivery type of businesses,” Drennan-Scace told itbusiness.ca. “We’re looking at a business service model for our first autonomous vehicle. … We believe that service industry will be the first area where [autonomous vehicles] will be able to be mass adopted.”

The Ford executive said his employer is currently working with “a number of partners” to develop autonomous services. The OEM has pledged $1 billion over the next five years to Argo AI in Pittsburgh, Pa., for example, to develop a new software platform for Ford’s fully autonomous vehicle. Drennan-Scace also noted the Ford Autonomous Team that’s currently testing in Dearborn, Mich.

The communications manager said Ford believes “in the future for smart cities and connected cities and connected vehicles.”

“We’re working with Qualcomm towards connecting vehicles to everything,” Drennan-Scace added, “which will allow vehicles to speak to other vehicles, speak to bikes, etcetera. We believe that that is going to be the way to go, because it will run on 5G … and having a separate spectrum for autonomous vehicles to allow for the amount of data that needs to be shared instantaneously, that that’s going to be the best way for vehicles to speak in an autonomous and connected world.”

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