Ford Targets 2021 for Mass-Market Self-Driving Car: 2021 a Near Certainty

According to Ford’s just announced plans, my 2022-2024 target for mass deployment of self-driving vehicles in the US is right on target if not overly pessimistic.

by Mish

Ford says it will build a totally self-driving car by 2021 as it seeks to take the lead in the global race to produce the world’s first high-volume driverless vehicle.
The car, which will have no steering wheel or pedals, will be used in the driverless taxi services that Ford said it expects to dominate the market in the coming decade.
There’s a real business rationale for this,” said Ford chief executive Mark Fields.
He said the cars will be “specifically designed for commercial” services such as ride-booking or ride-sharing.
The move pits Ford directly against Google and Apple as well as rival car manufacturers such as BMW, which has formed a joint partnership with Intel and Mobileye to develop a fully driverless vehicle by 2021.
When it announced the deal last month, the German carmaker said it wanted to become the “number one in autonomous driving”.
But Ford has announced a number of investments it hopes will give it the edge over its rivals.
Michelle Krebs, a director at Auto Trader, said: “General Motors has been grabbing all of the headlines of late, and Ford can’t be happy about that, especially as some Wall Street analysts have wondered if Ford is falling behind.”
Raj Nair, Ford’s chief technical officer, said driverless cars for individual use would come later. “We don’t expect to see fully autonomous vehicles for personal use for several years after they are first introduced”, he told a press conference in Palo Alto on Tuesday.
The industry believes that driverless cars will result in far fewer road deaths globally, as more than 90 per cent of accidents are a result of human error.

2021 Book It!

2021 is now nearly a certainty. Why?

Competition demands it!

Trucks Headed for Scrap Heap

My claim was “millions of long-haul truck driving jobs would vanish” in the 2022-2024 timeframe.

That time-line is looking a bit pessimistic. Why?

Because it’s a lot easier to navigate highways than city traffic. And there is a bigger economic incentive.

Key Ideas

1.The daily [truck] driving limit is 11 hours maximum. The average is likely less, lets call it 10.
2.Autonomous trucks will not have any limit. With driverless long-haul trucks, capacity will rise by at least 100% and perhaps as much as 140%.
3.A massive amount of trucking capacity is on the horizon.
4.Truck ship rates will collapse.
5.The independent truckers will go out of business, unable to afford retrofit costs and unable to compete with the big trucking companies if they don’t.The Fed will get a big boost in productivity. Will the Fed like the result?

Working Backwards

Google, Apple, Otto, Ford, GM, Tesla, Toyota, BMW, Audi, etc., are all in direct competition and all have dates in the 2021 time-frame, if not sooner.

Add a year if you like. Does anyone think that will not happen?

If mass-production of autos “specifically designed for commercial” services such as ride-booking or ride-sharing is in place by 2021 in the US, it’s logical to assume conversion of trucks will already be largely in place on the highways.

Interstate highways are much easier conceptually than cities. In terms of a trucking time-line, 2022 looks more like a worst case scenario than some super-optimistic projection.

Regulation has five years to catch up. It will. Competition between states (and political contributions from the trucking and shipping industries) all but ensures that outcome.

Nonetheless, I ask anyway …

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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