The Detroit giant has bravely changed leadership, and signalled a radical change of direction, but autonomous vehicles pose many technical problems
A little over a century since Ford’s Model T first allowed the average American to drive their own motor car, the manufacturing giant is threatening to take them away from the wheel. Or at least the appointment of a new chief executive, drawn from its autonomous cars division rather than the motor manufacturing mainstream, might suggest.
Those reading the runes from Detroit see the elevation of Jim Hackett, an industry outsider who runs the smart mobility unit at Ford, as another significant step forward into a future where driverless cars become the norm. How imminent that future is remains up for debate. Certainly, there is great confidence among the manufacturers that the technological capability is around the corner – and they have ploughed in billions in investment.