Henry Ford was one of those entrepreneurs that was ahead of his time. He started the Ford Motor Company in 1903. The Ford Motor Company has been one of the leaders in the automobile industry around the world ever since then. The European car makers like Mercedes and Daimler-Benz got started a little before Ford, but Ford used American creativity to make its mark on modern transportation by mass producing automobiles, and the company has continued to crank out vehicles by the millions every year. Ford has had a few missteps over the years. The 1970s and 1980s weren’t the best years for Ford, and the Great 2008 Recession wasn’t the best time to own Ford stock, but Ford is back stronger than ever now. In fact, Ford is planning to introduce their first driverless vehicle in 2021.
The commitment to driverless vehicles is not just a Ford vision. The attempt to mass-produce this nascent technology is a General Motors, Toyota, Tesla, Nissan, and Google mission as well. But that is just the short list of companies that want to get in on the most innovative improvement in automobiles since seatbelts and airbags. Adding computer chips has helped the industry move into the 21st century, but the automation of the automobile will give Ford and other automobile manufacturers real sci-fi credibility. The impact on societies around the world will be monumental, according to Mark Fields, the Chief Executive Officer of Ford. Fields said autonomous vehicles will change society in the same way that the moving assembly did more than hundred years ago, according to an article published by forbes.com.
Getting this new technology up and running for commercial use in five years is a challenge, but the Ford Motor Company is dedicated to that task. The company is expanding its plant in Palo Alto to 150,000 square feet and adding 260 more engineers to its staff just to work on the project.
The big question is, how receptive will consumers be to this new technology? Change is always hard for the masses. It takes time for new technology to sink in and become part of everyday life. Autonomous vehicles will take hold, but it might take years before they become what everybody wants.