Ford Will Have An Autonomous Taxi Fleet By 2021

DroidModderX

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In super exciting but unrelated to Android news Ford has announced they will be launching an autonomous taxi fleet by 2021. The vehicles will be level 4 meaning they won't be 100% fully autonomous. They will be able to drive you around without a driver in ideal weather conditions. They will need some human driver assistance in poor weather. The company hopes to reach their goals with their purchase of the Velodyne self driving tech company.

Ford's CEO Mark Fields mentioned that more details will come when the launch date nears. They expect to do some things on their own and partner with companies for other things. Fields has said the first application of the autonomous fleet will be commercial in nature. The vehicles will be used as taxis or parcel delivery. More information can be found at the link below.

via Recode
 

FoxKat

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I want to know who gets the taxi fees, the taxi owner or Ford? It seems we may be moving towards a robotic "employee" type future. This takes away good paying jobs from professional drivers and just like factory robots essentially make those positions obsolete.

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This would allow them to pay a cheaper wage because you would only need a driving assistant. Like those that wanted $15 hour at a fast food establishment are now being replaced by a kiosk.
 

FoxKat

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This would allow them to pay a cheaper wage because you would only need a driving assistant. Like those that wanted $15 hour at a fast food establishment are now being replaced by a kiosk.
I hear that, but the "assistant" would still need to be a fully licensed driver and also competent at controlling a vehicle. Would there be people willing to sit and monitor an autonomous vehicle for perhaps 8 hours a day and get paid a pittance to waste those hours? This would be a very boring job and the risk is that the assistant would fall asleep due to lack of physical and mental stimulation.

The other risk is that since they would only need to monitor the vehicle, does that mean they can play Pokemon, or surf the web, or watch Netflix during? I could see this being a legislated no-no. So then we have so-called assistants basically doing nothing and getting paid nothing in relative terms.
 

shockracer

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I hear that, but the "assistant" would still need to be a fully licensed driver and also competent at controlling a vehicle. Would there be people willing to sit and monitor an autonomous vehicle for perhaps 8 hours a day and get paid a pittance to waste those hours? This would be a very boring job and the risk is that the assistant would fall asleep due to lack of physical and mental stimulation.

The other risk is that since they would only need to monitor the vehicle, does that mean they can play Pokemon, or surf the web, or watch Netflix during? I could see this being a legislated no-no. So then we have so-called assistants basically doing nothing and getting paid nothing in relative terms.

I fully agree, but there are people that already just sit all day monitoring a automated line or device(s) waiting to hit the all stop button.

I can't help but imagine what happens if the computer freezes or locks up. I'd think it could end up like what happened at the end of this scene in the movie.
 

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I fully agree, but there are people that already just sit all day monitoring a automated line or device(s) waiting to hit the all stop button.

There is no doubt we already have that, and have for even decades on some mass transit systems, and on cargo transportation vehicles such as tanker ships and container vessels, however they are transporting MANY paying customers, or MASSIVE amounts of cargo, which translates to HUGE amounts of revenue per trip. In a Taxi, we're talking about average trips that bring $30 in revenue. This is not going to support the kinds of payroll necessary to have competent, skilled and motivated "captains" of the vessels, as it were.
 

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There is no doubt we already have that, and have for even decades on some mass transit systems, and on cargo transportation vehicles such as tanker ships and container vessels, however they are transporting MANY paying customers, or MASSIVE amounts of cargo, which translates to HUGE amounts of revenue per trip. In a Taxi, we're talking about average trips that bring $30 in revenue. This is not going to support the kinds of payroll necessary to have competent, skilled and motivated "captains" of the vessels, as it were.

By the time this would be in full affect, a ride would cost twice if not 3 times the current fair.
 

FoxKat

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I can't help but imagine what happens if the computer freezes or locks up. I'd think it could end up like what happened at the end of this scene in the movie.
There would have to be hard override systems that would NEVER be prevented from being used to take over the operation of the vehicles. Drive by wire, on a system that is autonomous would be a recipe for failure and put too many lives at risk. It's no secret that properly engineered and redundant automated systems can actually prevent accidents, or at a minimum reduce the risk of injury and death in such unavoidable accidents. We have these systems in cars (and trucks), of today, and many systems have been on production vehicles for now decades. Such systems include (but are not limited to), Automatically Deploying Airbags, Seatbelt Pre-tensioners, Anti-lock brakes, Autonomous or Speed-adaptive Cruise Control, Crash-prevention; Back-up or Parking Warning (sonar sensors and alerts), Automatic Braking, Rear Cameras, Blind Side Warning, Traction Control or Skid-prevention, Active Suspension, Full-Time All-Wheel Drive, Black Ice Warning, Anti-Roll and the list goes on and on...

It's also been proven in real-world tests that have been going on for quite a number of years now, that these autonomous cars are actually far better at maintaining a vehicle on a safe path while traveling the roads than do humans, under the overwhelmingly greater percentage of road hours. That said, they are not infallible and there have been accidents. Still, I would "feel" safer in an autonomous vehicle in most cases, than I would in a Taxi driven by the likes of those behind the wheels in some I've been (un)fortunate to experience.

There are no doubt, certain very unique and fluid situations where the intuition of the human mind will make a better, safer decision than will a computer, simply because a computer as of yet, can't learn the way a human mind can. For this reason, more than any I would not (yet, and perhaps not in my lifetime), want cars, trucks, buses, or other vehicles which do not run on a fixed track to be able to be completely autonomous and be commissioned without a human in the so-called "driver's seat", while operating on the same roads with other autonomous or actively driven vehicles. I believe there needs to be a huge build-out of supporting infrastructure (limited access roadway, fully interactive traffic signalling, mesh network geographic inter-vehicle communication and navigation systems, etc.), before we're ready for this.
 

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By the time this would be in full affect, a ride would cost twice if not 3 times the current fair.
And perhaps there is justification for such higher cost (assuming we're talking about inflation-adjusted cost increases, not simply inflation), such as the higher value of greater safety (if so can be proven), faster or more efficient transportation, again assuming the time saved is significant. I'm not going to pay significantly more for a Taxi ride, where if I drove myself (or was in a Taxi with a real active driver), I would arrive in 30 minutes, but in the autonomous vehicle it gets me to that destination in 2 minutes sooner.

Consumer passengers would benefit mostly from these systems if they are coupled with limited or restricted access roadways - roads that have right of way for autonomous vehicles, or that are completely restricted to them, similar to public transportation railway systems.
 

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Google has been doing good with their test fleet at 25 mph or slower. Another huge factor is weather, and until roads can communicate to the vehicles I don't see autonomous vehicles driving in anything but clear weather. Until that can be dealt with, having a vehicle taxi just stop mid route won't be good.
 

xeene

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I can't help but imagine what happens if the computer freezes or locks up. I'd think it could end up like what happened at the end of this scene in the movie.

Not an issue if you have triple failure backups, similar to what dod uses for Drone pilots. When one fails, another continues, if second fails, third continues. If 3 fail at same time, you better buy a lottery ticket!
 

LoneWolfArcher

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A) I hate public transportation.
B) I hate cities as they tend to be suboptimal for private vehicle ownership.
C) I am a control freak so I like to be in control of my own vehicle.
D) I don't really care about menial jobs, and therefore if they can be automated so be it. (Think the people that get paid to hold a sign out by the road. WHAT??!)
E) Having said all of the above the tech necessary for this is very cool stuff.
 

kodiak799

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I won't be jumping in any of these cars because, as mentioned, it's fairly certain if you have to rely on a driver for any reason that passive driver is not going to be reliable.

On a related note, I've been thinking of buying a used car (two years old). Would keep it 8-10 years, when I'm reasonably certain non-self driving cars are going to be almost worthless (unless it's a classic collectable).

In about 5 years, this is going to wreak havoc on prices of non-self driving cars. Although I'm sure the automakers will appropriately scale down production with demand.
 

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Ok..I've never had one single accident. I am a performance driver..held a license for 2 different stock car classes but I pride myself.on car control..that said.

New Corvette stingray lt1.. gorgeous car..lots of built in redundancy..magnetic controls on the shocks.. different exhaust tunes..

Shelby gt500..2013 was the last I drove..loved that car .hated the brake fade..but..for a car with heads as broad as my shoulders..I loved that car.

2016 zl1 Camaro..with z28 track.package added ..omfg..the car is big like me...it runs and the pushrod v8 with supercharger and the 6 speed..wow..

My latest ...the new smokey and the bandit ta ..you bring an ss Camaro and 40 k..or finance..850 hp lsx 454. T tops and subframe connectors and all that stuff added..Burt Reynolds signature..

Cars have many keep you safe systems..and they're great about staying functional..

My problem is..with all that performance..why do I want to turn lose of the wheel?? We have 4 cylinder turbos that are faster than 5.0 mustang gts ..I'm sorry..I like to drive..I want to have a say in what happens to me...as I get older and lose that edge..then I'll hopefully re-evaluate that .
 
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