back to article Ford's parallel PARCing: Motor giant tries to craft new tech just like Xerox

Ford is scared of the future. It has to figure out how to survive in a time when manually driving your car to work is as archaic as commuting by horse. The motor company is running research projects to look at how the future might be multi-modal, with car-share schemes, folding electric bikes, and self-driving cars. There is a …


      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge


        It will change from insurance to product liability.


        No more than it is at present. The person or company that will have to pay (and therefore will need insurance) will be the person or company that was to blame for the accident. In most cases the blame will *not* be with the self-driving car manufacturer. If the automatic system failed to avoid an accident that it should have been able to avoid, the cause of the failure will determine who pays, which might be the manufacturer if it was a design fault, but may well be the owner of the car who failed to maintain it properly, or a garage that failed to service or repair it correctly. If your wheel comes off and causes a fatal accident, it is not Dunlop or the car manufacturer who is held to blame *unless* there was a design or manufacturing fault in the wheel or fasteners. What we may well find is that the number of accidents caused by owners/drivers fall to such a low level that 3rd party insurance will no longer be mandatory - any more than pedestrians or cyclists have to have insurance even though they sometimes cause expensive accidents. It may be of interest to know that 3rd party insurance is not mandatory for private pilots in the UK for a similar reason.

    1. arrbee

      The insurance companies wont push too hard until it is (legally) clear who has responsibility for an accident involving a self-drive car - and that might take decades to sort out. Either that or they will simply list software faults as uninsured and let the passengers worry about it.

  1. Ben Bonsall

    Or you might have an airbnb-for-cars scheme where you drive to work, then the car spends its time in a car share, with people using apps to hire and drive it until it's time for you to leave. You drive home and then put it out on the street again. A new generation of pimp my ride.

    The last thing I want when I leave work to sit in a traffic jam is my car smelling of burger king, puke and other peoples farts.

    1. ssssssssssssssssssssss

      That's easy:

      * You don't own the car but rent transport facilities. (Like city car clubs.)

      * The cars have cameras inside.

      * If a car arrives for you and it's unacceptably untidy, you report it, it goes away to get cleaned and you get another.

      * The previous user gets charged for the excessive cleaning, through their normal account - and the cameras provide evidence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And....You're late for whatever it was that you ordered the vehicle.

        1. James Hughes 1

          There are many reasons why someone might be late, through circumstances out of their control, this is just another reason.

      2. fandom Silver badge

        The cars would use the cameras when a user is getting out to prevent them from leaving something behind, umbrellas, handbags, the usual stuff.

        If they 'see' something suspicious like puke, they can flag a human operator, and send another car to the next user.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the car can drive itself but it's not intelligent enough to detect someone puking or have a scent sensor? It's not the least believable thing.

  2. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    Gerald Weinberg (The Psychology of Computer Programming and many other books) claimed that he had worked on the Edsel, and suggested that Ford designed it as a failure to get the silly ideas out of everybody's systems/

  3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Ford needn't worry - their dealers should

    Once driverless cars become common, I think that the car rental companies will merge with taxi companies and the majority of current car owners doing less than say 10K miles per year will cease to own their own car and simply rent a driverless one on a per journey basis.

    Ford are more than capable of selling direct to fleet buyers. It's the dealerships that will have no one to sell to.

  4. Yugguy

    The evil auto box????

    I can't wait to get back in an auto. Constantly changing gear manually in traffic is simply a complete waste of effort. An auto box can last hundreds of thousands of miles with proper servicing - fluid replacement, filters if possible.

    There would be no need to connect said gearbox to anything external to the car. Auto boxes have been around for decades without needing any form of outside control.

    What worries me FAR more is the current Ford advert for park assist showing a car steering itself.


    1. fishman

      Re: The evil auto box????

      " An auto box can last hundreds of thousands of miles with proper servicing - fluid replacement, filters if possible."

      Yes, it can last a long time. And it can also fail in less than 50K miles, even with proper servicing. And when they fail, it can cost alot - $3K to $5K.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The evil auto box????

      "Constantly changing gear manually in traffic is simply a complete waste of effort."

      Maybe so, but it probably keeps your mind on the job more than an auto does.

      I keep having the feeling that the more gizmos added to 'help' the driver is in fact ensuring that the driver pays even less attention to what they are doing.

      Tell me how a touch screen which has to be looked at to operate is safer than manual knobs and buttons which can be used mostly without looking.

      I'll take the electronics to give better fuel economy. I'll even take ABS but I refuse to entertain a car which starts telling me how I should drive. I have an older car with a Tiptronic gearbox which I use as a manual. The only reason I have an auto is that in my ageing years (ha ha) if something should happen to me, my wife can drive it. I have never found an auto gearbox that changes gear when I want it changed, and that's either changing up OR down, which no-one seems to do these days. All you get are brake lights flashing all the time which is distracting especially on a wet night. One exception was a Renault Laguna which would automatically change down a gear if it detected (presumably) that you were gaining speed but no throttle input. CVT works better on that score as well.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The evil auto box????

        "Constantly changing gear manually in traffic is simply a complete waste of effort."

        Incidentally, the Renault gearbox crapped out on me rather spectacularly when it decided to drop into 'limp home' mode (2nd gear) at 70 mph in the outside lane of the M3.

        The effect was as though I had completey lost power, and made frightful noise from the engine compartment, and a definite moistening of the nether regions, not to mention frantic signalling and looking for a gap in the traffic in order to cross 3 lanes of traffic at a much reduced speed. I discovered I had enough driveabillity to get home, fortunately not that far, after pulling to the side of the road.

        It sounded expensive - and was! Around 1000 quid for a replacement, and that was from a wrecker.

        Turned out to be the result of a hairline crack in the casing causing a pressure drop and a sensor triggering the limp home mode.

        I wonder how an autonomous car would have handled that little situation. Hmmm?

  5. MattPi

    I love driving

    I love driving. I love the control, I love the "game" of optimising my path and evaluating what's going on in front of me to predict what's coming next. Not to mention the visceral feel of a reasonably sporty car (or my bike) on an interesting road.

    I'd take an automated car in a heartbeat for a daily driver. With a young child I have very little time to myself, and if I had 60 minutes a day to read or listen to music undistracted it'd be worth its weight in printer ink for me.

    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: I love driving

      It's weight in printer ink? Do you realise how much that is? I once worked out that if you filled the petrol tank of a £300,000 Lamborghini Aventador with printer ink, the ink would cost more than the car.

  6. Colin Tree


    We could download a Future Ford from PirateBay,

    and print it

    Would that be cyber fraud or grand theft auto ?


    Where's yr buccaneers

    On yr buccened


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