Things that make Ford go vroom!

We talk to Julius Marchwicki from Ford to discuss the future of automobiles

Published Date
01 - Dec - 2015
| Last Updated
02 - Dec - 2015
 
Things that make Ford go vroom!

Just like our modern lives, locomotion isn’t untouched by revolutionary tech. To get a sense of how cars, in particular, are evolving to adjust to our increasingly smarter, responsible lifestyle, we reached out to Julius Marchwicki, Director, Connected Vehicle Services, Ford Motor Company. 

Digit: Just how close are we to realizing fully autonomous vehicles on the road? What’s the serious timeframe that you’re anticipating this to happen throughout the world?
Marchwicki: At Ford, we believe the path to autonomous driving will come in phases. We’re already manufacturing and selling semi-autonomous vehicle features that use software and sensors to steer into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces, adjust speed based on traffic flow or apply the brakes in an emergency. We have fully autonomous vehicles in development – with research vehicles already on the road.  We are excited by all the innovation occurring and know the increased attention will not only speed-up the technology but also help align industry, regulatory and economic leaders. Fully autonomous driving likely will be possible with the right combination of environmental, regulatory and economic factors. 

Digit: What are some of the challenges and opportunities of developing autonomous vehicles? Is it because we are lazy?
Marchwicki: Laziness is definitely not a reason. Autonomous technology brings visions of being more productive, safer and more efficient. Everyone dreams of reading the paper and drinking a coffee while being driven to their destination. 
As the technology continues to develop, we will rely on the well-defined regulatory framework and broad public trust on issues of safety and security. While autonomous cars incorporate sophisticated safety features, human inputs will remain critical to their correct usage.  To help learn about this input, our semi-autonomous technologies are helping reduce human error in driving and improve safety. 
Autonomous vehicle technology is another step closer to production at Ford, moving from a research effort to an advanced engineering program, the company announced today.

Digit: According to you, what is smart mobility? Is it beyond just short-term gimmicks, features and functionality that actually help the consumer in the long run?
Marchwicki: At Ford, we’re driving innovation in every part of our business. It starts with Ford Smart Mobility, which is our plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and big data. At CES in January 2015, we announced 25 global experiments, and added more in the first quarter of the year. Applying the learnings of an initial round of global experiments, we are moving from research to the start of the implementation of our Ford Smart Mobility plan. We are focusing our work going forward on two strategic areas – Flexible Use and Ownership and Multi-Modal Urban Mobility Solutions.

Digit: What are some of the exciting trends in the world of automobiles both from the perspective of advanced Western markets and emerging markets, including India?
Marchwicki: By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. With more people living in dense, urban environments, we anticipate significant resource congestion and infrastructure issues. Our Ford Smart Mobility plan is helping us figure out solutions to many emerging issues. Through the MyEnergi Lifestyle program and collaborations with utility companies, Ford is integrating the vehicle into the city and the home to help customers save energy, reduce emissions, and take advantage of renewable energy. 
The second trend is the effect of automation. As I said, fully autonomous driving likely will be possible with the right combination of environmental and regulatory updates within five years. 
Third, is the rise of digitally-native members of Generation Z – most of whom are still in their teens – mobility will be a unifier, and they will consider different vehicle options such as car sharing and ride hailing. 

Digit: From a technology standpoint, what unique user demands are you witnessing increasingly in the marketplace at point-of-sale? 
Marchwicki: Customers today are very well informed and want the best – right from technology to safety. Our recent introductions in India, Figo Aspire and new Figo have received great response from customers on all these counts. Both cars understand that our customers need to stay safely connected to the outside world. Among some of the things liked by customers is MyFord Dock -- a first-in-class feature that offers drivers a unique solution for storing, mounting and charging mobile phones, MP3 players, and satellite navigation systems, and for integrating these devices into the car’s entertainment system. Addressing the need to encourage responsible driving, both Figo and Aspire feature Ford MyKey technology that allows owners to program the car’s key with restricted driving modes such as increasing seatbelt use, limiting the vehicle’s top speed and regulating audio volume. 
Consumers looking for even greater technological integration can choose a Figo equipped with SYNC with Ford AppLink, Ford’s advanced in-car connectivity system. It essentially enables you to access and control your favourite apps on your smartphone via voice-control, plus your car’s audio systems, steering-wheel controls, multi function display and centrestack. By creating a hands-free link between your mobile and your Ford, you can stay connected, informed and entertained while you’ve got your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.  


Julius Marchwicki, Director, Connected Vehicle Services, Ford Motor Company

Digit: Google is close, Tesla, too. According to you just how close are we to realizing fully autonomous vehicles on the road? What's the serious timeframe that you're anticipating this to happen throughout the world?
Marchwicki: At Ford, we believe the path to autonomous driving will come in phases. We’re already manufacturing and selling semi-autonomous vehicle features that use software and sensors to steer into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces, adjust speed based on traffic flow or apply the brakes in an emergency. We have fully autonomous vehicles in development – with research vehicles already on the road.  We are excited by all the innovation occurring and know the increased attention will not only speed the technology but also help align industry, regulatory and economic leaders.
Fully autonomous driving likely will be possible with the right combination of environmental, regulatory and economic factors. 

Digit: What are some of the challenges and opportunities of developing autonomous vehicles? Is it because we couldn't be any lazier?
Marchwicki: Laziness is definitely not a reason. Autonomous technology brings visions of being more productive, safer and more efficient. Everyone dreams of reading the paper and drinking a coffee while being driven to their destination. 
As the technology continues to develop, we will rely on the well-defined regulatory framework and broad public trust on issues of safety and security. While autonomous cars incorporate sophisticated safety features, human inputs will remain critical to their correct usage.  To help learn about this input, our semiautonomous technologies are helping reduce human error in driving and improve safety by reducing driver stress and workload. 
Autonomous vehicle technology is another step closer to production at Ford, moving from a research effort to an advanced engineering program, the company announced today.

Digit: What are some of the learning's from the VW emissions debacle not just for Ford but for the entire automobiles industry? 
Marchwicki: We are focused on Ford and continuing to accelerate the pace of our One Ford plan, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in every part of our business.

Digit: According to you, what is smart mobility? Is it beyond just short-term gimmicks, features and functionality that actually help the consumer in the long run?
Marchwicki: At Ford, we’re driving innovation in every part of our business. It starts with Ford Smart Mobility, which is our plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and big data. At CES in January 2015, we announced 25 global experiments, and added more in the first quarter of the year. Applying the learnings of an initial round of global experiments, we are moving from research to the start of the implementation of our Ford Smart Mobility plan. We are focusing our work going forward on two strategic areas – Flexible Use and Ownership and Multi-Modal Urban Mobility Solutions.

Digit: What are some of the exciting trends in the world of automobiles both from the perspective of advanced Western markets and emerging markets, including India?
Marchwicki: By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. With more people living in dense, urban environments, we anticipate significant resource, congestion, and infrastructure issues. Our Ford Smart Mobility plan is helping us figure out solutions to many emerging issues. Through the MyEnergi Lifestyle program and collaborations with utility companies, Ford is integrating the vehicle into the city and the home to help customers save energy, reduce emissions, and take advantage of renewable energy options to help offset major grid problems. 
The second trend is the effect of automation. As I said, fully autonomous driving likely will be possible with the right combination of environmental and regulatory updates within the next five years. 
Third, is the rise of digitally-native members of Generation Z – most of who are still in their teens – mobility will be a unifier, and they will consider different vehicle options such as car sharing and ride hailing than earlier generations who strived to purchase.

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