Ford sees autonomous vehicles as key cog of smart city

Ford says autonomous vehicles will be concentrated in smart cities, which will manage the transportation system centrally with a core operating system.

Ford said that smart cities will be the test beds for autonomous vehicles, which will be concentrated in urban areas.

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The automaker's vision for smart cities comes as the company said at the North American Auto Show (see CNET Roadshow) that it will expand its Chariot ride-sharing service to eight cities.

Ford has a division focused on next-gen auto services, as its core manufacturing business introduces electric vehicles as well as a new Bronco due in 2020. Ford has said it is adding 13 new electrified vehicles and investing $4.5 million over the next five years.

More: CES 2017: Microsoft Connected Car 2.0 rolls along | Baidu and BAIC Motor team up for Level 3 autonomous vehicles | Toyota Research Institute CEO: Automakers "not even close" to fully autonomous cars | Intel launches GO platform, aims for autonomous vehicles, but runs into Qualcomm, NXP | Ford expands investment in electric and autonomous vehicle production

According to the company, Ford City Solutions, a team devoted to smart city transportation, will collaborate with mayors on topics such as congestion and other mobility challenges. Ford's vision of the smart city includes autonomous and electric vehicles, ride-sharing platforms, and connected cars that swap data with infrastructure.

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Ford's key smart city points include:

  • Cities will roll out more autonomous vehicles over the next five years.
  • Electric vehicles will outnumber gas powered cars in the next 15 years.
  • Crowdsourced ride-sharing services will go global.
  • Vehicles will connect to transportation systems. Ford said it will equip 20 million cars with built-in modems over five years.
  • City managers will have new operating systems to manage the transportation system as well as traffic flow. These operating systems will integrate data from multiple endpoints.
  • Drones will be deployed throughout smart cities for emergency responders.

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