Anyone with first-hand knowledge of autonomous car technology knows automakers get a little out of control when predicting how soon we’ll reach Level 5 autonomy. Ford has been one of the guiltier parties in this whole hype fest, and now CEO Jim Hackett is having to eat some crow.
Don’t worry, while speaking with Bloomberg recently Hackett did an excellent job of spinning things. Sure, Ford was hyping a full self-driving car for the public launching in 2021. That date seemed so far off years ago, so how could it not hit that target? Now Hackett says a self-driving model is coming, but “its applications will be narrow.”
Just how narrow? Maybe it will only work with geofencing? Or it could offer almost Level 3 autonomy, like what everyone else has at the moment.
It gets better. Hackett said once the autonomous technology reaches a breakthrough point “it will change the way your toothpaste is delivered.” Really? Toothpaste? Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I can buy that stuff at Walmart and skip the delivery. Yes, I know there’s been talk about autonomous deliveries of online purchases to homes and businesses, but it’s just plain weird to focus on toothpaste.
The cost of developing tech we’re not even sure can exist is expensive. Ford’s already blown through billions in the process, and now it’s looking to build partnerships since it’s on a financial shoestring.