Bill Ford: ‘Self-Driving Cars Are Coming’ – Reinventing America – Forbes
Even Detroit’s Big Three see self-driving cars in their rear-view mirror.
In a wide-ranging interview on Thursday at the Forbes Reinventing American Summit, Ford executive chairman Bill Ford talked about rebuilding his family’s company’s — and the future that will soon disrupt automobiles through technology.
“Self-driving cars are coming,” said Ford. “But the technology will arrive before society figures out how to make it work. There’s a whole element that needs to be worked out.”
The great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford believes the technological revolution goes beyond self-driving cars, though. Using more efficient materials, like aluminum in the new Ford F-150, is a major effort for the company — both to add safety and increase fuel economy.
Ford, interviewed on stage by Steve Forbes, said this new era of technology is fun. “We used to talk in 5-7 year cycles, but we’re moving to software cycles now. We’re learning to speed everything up.”
The crisis the auto industry went through in the last decade was also on the agenda, with Ford reflecting on the many sleepless nights he spent during the darkest days. “The biggest trouble we’ve gotten into in the past is when we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid,” Ford says. “The scaring that we’ve had in the last go around will remain with us for a long time. Part of my role is to be the institutional memory for this company.”
Ford also finds himself in a role of re-focusing his company on what matters most. He believes Ford is more than just a straightforward car manufacturer. “I said to our company – we’re a personal mobility company. Whatever form that takes, we need to pursue.”