Ford is teaming up with cities all over the world to try and find solutions to issues such as gridlocks and air pollution.
Ford isn’t talking only about its current and future models at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show as the Blue Oval has set its sights on improving the quality of life for city dwellers. Ford’s City Solutions team is joining forces with authorities from different cities of the world and with Bloomberg Philanthropies to come up with new ways of getting from point A to point B in a more efficient and eco-friendly way.
Meet Ford’s “City of Tomorrow,” one in which autonomous and electric vehicles can interact with the local transportation system and also with the urban infrastructure to eliminate the problems we are facing today, such as gridlocks and air pollution. Ford believes ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and connected vehicles can make our lives better by communicating with the urban infrastructure to form a more efficient and cleaner transportation ecosystem.
According to Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company:
“This is an issue that goes far beyond congestion. It is one that represents a massive challenge to mankind, one that affects our well-being and access to health care, clean drinking water, food, a safe place to live and even the ability to find work.”
Ford sees a rather very optimistic future with reconfigurable roads capable of adapting based on the traffic flow. Last-minute solutions like bikes and drones would further optimize transportation within the city, along with the implementation of high-speed public transit. As you would imagine, autonomous cars are also expected to play a major role.
Since we've mentioned ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles, Ford reiterates it will have its first fully driverless car ready as a ride-sharing model for 2021. We already know it won’t come with a steering wheel, nor will it have pedals. Ford is already testing autonomous Fusion Hybrid prototypes across the United States to perfect the technology and have it ready early next decade.
Gallery: Ford's City of Tomorrow
City of Tomorrow
Beyond vehicles, Ford is working with cities around the world to help address growing mobility challenges in urban environments, including gridlock and air pollution.
Ford’s City Solutions team – the only one of its kind in the auto industry– is working with cities around the world to propose, pilot and develop mobility solutions. The team also is beginning to collaborate with Bloomberg Philanthropies and its global coalition of mayors.
“This is an issue that goes far beyond congestion. It is one that represents a massive challenge to mankind, one that affects our well-being and access to health care, clean drinking water, food, a safe place to live and even the ability to find work,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. “By solving the mobility challenge, we have the chance to create a better world for future generations. It’s both an exciting opportunity and a big responsibility.”
Ford today presented its vision for the “City of Tomorrow.”
Ford’s City of Tomorrow looks at how near-term mobility advancements – including autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing and ride-hailing and connected vehicles – interact with urban infrastructure and create a transportation ecosystem.
For example, Ford is imagining a world in which reconfigurable roads fluidly respond to commuter needs and traffic flow. Bikes and drones provide last-mile solutions for both people and goods.
The Future: Near Term
Within the next five years, Ford expects autonomous vehicles will be introduced in cities around the world. This includes Ford’s first fully autonomous vehicles in 2021.
At the same time, the company expects continued growth in electrified vehicles – with global EV industry offerings eventually outnumbering gasoline-powered offering in the next 15 years.
Shared modes of transportation will continue to gain popularity, such as the Ford’s Chariot app-based, crowd-sourced ride sharing service, which is expanding globally.
Chariot, which currently operates in San Francisco and Austin, Texas, is growing its operations to eight cities this year, including at least one city outside of the U.S.
In Ford’s vision of the near-term future, connected communications between vehicles and infrastructure also will grow:
- Vehicles will be capable of connecting with other vehicles and cities’ transportation operating systems. Ford alone will equip 20 million cars globally with built-in modems in the next five years.
- As these vehicles and other connected vehicles are introduced into cities around the world, cities themselves will change. Large-scale innovations likely, including wireless charging and enhanced connectivity.
- These changes could give city transportation managers all-new operating systems, which allow them to manage multiple aspects of their city transportation system centrally, including traffic flow and vehicle emissions.
The Future: Long Term
Further out, Ford sees the City of Tomorrow with significant concentrations of autonomous vehicles, most of which will be electrified.
Mass transit will improve for the largest cities with new technologies like advanced high-speed public transit. Other innovations could include:
- Drones that will play many roles. For example, they could be quickly deployed to survey and map the hardest-hit areas following earthquakes, tsunamis or other major disasters
- Advanced transportation operating systems that more robustly and seamlessly integrate data from all aspects of the ecosystem. This includes vehicles, bikes, drones and mass transit as well as street lights, parking meters and charging infrastructure
- Large-scale implementation of advanced technologies for flexible traffic management coupled with autonomous vehicles – eliminating traffic jams, reducing emissions and bringing traffic accidents to nearly zero
- Converting road space into green space and parks, allowing for higher quality of life and healthier communities
“For more than 100 years, Ford has been part of the community and the trusted source for automotive transportation,” Fields said. “Now, we want to work with communities to offer even more transportation choices and solutions for people – for decades to come.”
City of Tomorrow Symposium
As part the North American International Auto Show, Ford is hosting a symposium on the City of Tomorrow at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. Together with partners TED, The New York Times and VICE Media, Ford has created sessions with thought leaders, mayors and prominent leaders to discuss the mobility challenges, opportunities and emerging solutions that will shape the City of Tomorrow.