Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bill Ford at the Detroit Economic Club: A Perspective on the Future

October 31 was not only Halloween, it was a day on which Bill Ford was the speaker at the Detroit Economic Club luncheon meeting.  Beth Chappell delivered great questions to Bill and he responded on topics including autonomous vehicles, Amazon’s look at Detroit as a new headquarters, Detroit’s new spirit, Ford’s competitiveness and their position in the automotive market.

Here is a link to the video of the extended interview if you would like to see it Bill Ford at Detroit Economic Club.  Bill’s comments were constructive and particularly positive relative to Ford’s efforts in the personal transportation marketplace.  Would we have expected any less? Compelling comments though, and most striking to me, his view that the market is not about the tech which can be designed into the car, it is about people’s needs for transportation.  He spoke about how people in some areas of the world have far different needs than those of us here in Detroit or Chicago or less urban areas of the U.S.  Creating vehicles with the right technology to address these many human needs is the right challenge. 

Admittedly, I started thinking about the public transit challenge we seem to have in the Detroit area.  As a student of the autonomous vehicle technology and one who is working with some of the players bringing it to reality, there is a great facilitation challenge I would like to work.  The challenge would be to have the right people in the room to address the evolution of the autonomous vehicle tech, as a solution to the many stories about how long it takes someone using public transport to get to or from a job.  That would be a great and meaningful discussion.   

I have every confidence there will be a solution available for this in the next five years.  It should be very possible to have customized routes depending on who is looking for a ride and where they are going.  I would like to know if SMART or DDOT is working on this – if you know, please send me a note  If you are creating this solution, come and talk to us at Innovate Farmington!


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  2. The big investment needed is INFRASTRUCTURE!! Smart road technology must precede self-driving vehicles. There doesn't seem to be any driver in the vehicle of progress on infrastructure.