Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is planning on using driver’s ed to enhance its self-driving technology.
The suggestion came up during a commercial breakfast meeting in Seattle where the company’s Research and Innovation director Jim Buczkowski spoke about the shortcomings of self-driving technology. Buczkowski asked whether autonomous vehicles that failed during their self-driving tests would have to be sent back to their driver’s ed. The director also pointed out that registering a lot of miles is not enough to certify self-driving vehicles. He also pointed out that such cars should be able to handle a wide range of scenarios.
Buczkowski was in Seattle to attend a meeting with officials from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). They held discussions about Ford’s automotive developments and cloud computing. The vehicle manufacturer teamed up with Microsoft to develop an Azure cloud platform for connected vehicle services. Such technology would, for example, make it possible to push automatic software updates. It would also make it possible for owners to have an automatic vehicle finder.
Ford and Amazon have also joined forces to integrate Amazon’s Alexa and Echo into Ford SYNC. Such an integration will make it possible to feature two-way communications between cars and smart homes. Buczkowski will play a huge role in the technology because he will focus on innovations that can be adopted by Ford. He pointed out that it is not just about making more vehicles. As for Virtual Driver licenses, the director stated that Ford intends to create level 4 autonomous vehicles that will be capable of full control over the vehicle but in specified modes only.
Buczkowski also placed a lot of emphasis on driver scenarios by stating that the vehicles will be subjected to hundreds of different scenarios once they are on the road after the testing phase. This is completely different from the testing phase which mostly takes place within cities. The director also pointed out that there is a lot of pressure from regulations put in place by government authorities.