Ford: Aiming to achieve volume production of driverless vehicles in 2021 for ride-sharing

Establishing a business model of mobility services as a new source of revenue



  In September 2016, Ford outlined its mid- to long-term growth plan. The automaker will aggressively expand into the areas of electrification, autonomous driving, and mobility services, and at the same time fortify its core businesses (passenger vehicles, trucks). This report will introduce the OEM's plans to enter new fields.

  According to Ford, the shift "from a society of car ownership to a society where ownership and sharing coexist" is progressing rapidly. The automaker will respond to this with its vision to become "an auto and a mobility company." From now on, rather than just focusing on how many cars it sells, Ford will also give attention to what kind of mobility services it offers.

  Although the market size of the traditional car market globally is USD 2.3 trillion (JPY 265 trillion when USD 1 = JPY 115), the size of markets like mobility services that Ford has not yet entered amount to USD 5.4 trillion (JPY 620 trillion) and is expected to be a significant source of revenue from now on. The automaker's policy for its mobility services is to focus on cars, while covering everything from bikes (electric assisted bicycle), to shuttles (on-demand service of minibus with a riding capacity of 10 people or less) and buses.

  As for technology, Ford will fortify its electrification and autonomous driving capabilities. The company predicts that the market will be divided into approximately 3 segments consisting of internal combustion engine vehicles, HVs, and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) in 2030 due to technological advancement and cost reductions for electrification.

  Regarding autonomous driving, Ford is planning for annual production of approximately 100,000 units of fully autonomous, SAE level 4-capable (full autonomy in defined areas) driverless vehicles for ride-sharing. This is expected to have a major impact as the cost of the driver, which is the largest for ride sharing, will become zero. Ford predicts that 20% of U.S. car sales will be autonomous vehicles in 2030.

Related reports:
BMW's Car Sharing Service: Planning expansion to 10 cities, starting with 3 U.S. cities in 2016 (December 2016)
U.S. NHTSA: Announcement of guidance for autonomous vehicles (November 2016)


Autonomous driving test
Autonomous driving test vehicle based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid (Picture: Ford)
test operation during
Test vehicle conducting a test operation during snowfall (Picture: Ford)

Ford: Announces its mid- to long-term growth plan targeting electrification, autonomous driving, and mobility

Potential markets such as mobility services
Potential markets such as mobility services have grown to a scale of USD 5.4 trillion per year (Source: Ford)

  In September 2016, Ford outlined its mid- to long-term growth plan. Ford will invest in new business opportunities in the areas of electrification, autonomous driving, and mobility services, while also fortifying core businesses such as pickup trucks, SUVs, and commercial vans.

  According to Ford, although the size of the global market for traditional automobiles is USD 2.3 trillion (JPY 265 trillion at a rate of USD 1 = JPY 1), the potential market for mobility services and the like is projected to be USD 5.4 trillion (JPY 620 trillion). As the OEM does not have any share in these services, it plans to strengthen its capabilities in them as soon as possible to establish a significant source of revenue for the future.

  Electrification and autonomous driving is expected to fortify both Ford's core businesses and its mobility services.

Electrification: Investing USD 4.5 billion by 2020 and introducing 13 new models

  Ford was the led sales for PHVs in the U.S. in 2015, and ranked second for cumulative units of electrified vehicles (total HVs, PHVs and EVs) in the US.

  In December 2015, the automaker announced that it will invest $4.5 billion and introduce 13 new electric vehicles by 2020. The product line of electrified vehicles is expected to reach 40% of the company's entire lineup in 2020.

  Ford predicts that the price per kWh of EV batteries will fall from $120 in 2020 to $85 for the latest lithium-ion batteries in 2030, and to $75 for post-lithium-ion batteries. The company expects that when the costs of owning an EV will fall in comparison to those of an internal combustion engine vehicle as a result of technological innovation and EV mass production. At the same time, the cost of owning an internal combustion engine vehicle is expected to rise due to the tightening of regulations and increased fuel costs. As a result, the cost of owning both kinds of vehicles will become closer in the mid-term.

  Ford predicts that the market will be divided into approximately 3 segments consisting of internal combustion engine vehicles, HVs, and ZEVs.

Autonomous vehicles: Introducing high-volume, SAE level 4 autonomous vehicles in 2021 for ride-sharing

  Ford announced that it will introduce high-volume, SAE level 4 autonomous vehicles in 2021 for ride-sharing.

  The autonomous vehicle introduced by Ford in 2021 will be developed exclusively for ride-sharing. It will have no pedals or steering wheel and be intended for "fully autonomous driving in designated areas." The vehicle will cover areas created by LiDAR with a high-resolution three-dimensional map. Ford plans to start operations in major cities in North America including urban and corridor areas in New York City and Detroit City (elongated areas centered on the highway), and expand the use of the vehicle around the world in the long-term.

Providing vehicles for Uber's autonomous driving tests

  From the summer of 2016, Ford has provided autonomous vehicles based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which are the current test vehicles for autonomous driving tests Uber is conducting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where customers who wish to do so actually get to ride in autonomous vehicles. Although the vehicles have SAE level 4-level functionality, Uber employees ride in them as drivers (Ford calls these safety drivers) as a precaution.

  The introduction of autonomous vehicles will have a significant effect on mobility services. Although the cost per mile is currently USD 2.50 for Uber's ride sharing, it is expected that autonomous driving will reduce this to about USD 1.00.

  Ford has not announced which vendor (whether Uber, or Lyft, or another company) they will partner for its ride-sharing business. The company has said that running the ride-sharing business independently is one possibility.

Plans for introduction of
autonomous vehicles
Plans for introduction of autonomous vehicles. Although the Fusion AV that will be produced in small quantities between 2016 and 2020 is classified as SAE level 4, "safety drivers" will be on board as a precaution. Safety drivers will become unnecessary with the new autonomous vehicles to be introduced in 2021. (Source: Ford)
The cost per mile of ride
The cost per mile of ride sharing via autonomous vehicles is approximately USD 1.00 (a 60% reduction from Uber's current $2.50) (Source: Ford).

Autonomous vehicles for individual customers to be introduced several years after those for ride sharing

  The sale of autonomous vehicles to individuals is expected to begin a few years after 2021 at the earliest.

  With Ford's current ride sharing plans it is possible to limit use of autonomous vehicles to areas for which high definition 3D maps have been created, and the move to driverless automobiles (unmanned taxis) will enable significant cost reductions. The advantage of this is that the costs of equipping the vehicles with autonomous driving technology will be absorbed, and Ford will expect to be able to profit from these models.

  However, Ford predicts that the realization of level 5 (fully autonomous driving without any conditions) will only be realized further in the future. Introducing level 3 or level 4 autonomous vehicles for individual customers will involve the following challenges, and it is not certain that Ford will be able to achieve the scale of production needed to produce a profit.

Autonomous vehicles for individual customers to be introduced several years after those for ride sharing

  Ford predicts that individual customers will not respond favorably to price increases resulting from vehicles being equipped with autonomous driving technology for automobiles that claim to offer autonomous driving but still require a person to drive (level 3), or those that a person must drive outside designated areas (level 4). Ford thinks it will be difficult to ensure the necessary economies of scale as demand will be limited to luxury vehicles.
  Moreover, at level 3, the driver must take control of the vehicle when prompted. This introduces the questions of whether such a system is feasible, and if Ford could be held responsible for how the vehicle behaves as the automaker. For these reasons, the OEM is not planning to develop level 3 autonomous vehicles. Regarding this point, in September 2016 the U.S. NHTSA also issued a warning in its "NHTSA Federal Automated Vehicles Policy" that the possibility of drivers being distracted and not complying with regulatory requirements must be taken into account.
  According to Ford, "autonomous vehicles" that assume the driver taking over for the autonomous driving system will be as complicated as a fully autonomous vehicle.

Source: Automotive News on August 16, 2016/ October 24, 2016

Strengthening autonomous driving technology development, collaborating with four new start-up companies

Fusion Hybrid 3D map
A Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous driving test vehicle's 3D map (Picture: Ford)

  Ford has significantly strengthened its autonomous driving technology development system. The automaker announced that it will invest in and collaborate with four start-up companies on 3D maps, LiDAR, radars, and core camera technologies. Including these four companies, Ford is collaborating with over 40 start-ups.

  Ford will also expand its research facility in Palo Alto (Silicon Valley). The OEM will construct a new research building and double the current headcount of 130 employees.

  Regarding autonomous driving test vehicles based on the Fusion Hybrid sedan, Ford has increased the number of active units from 10 at the beginning of 2016 to 30, which is the largest fleet of all automakers. Ford is running tests in California, Arizona, Michigan, and plans to increase the number of test vehicles to 90 units in 2017. The company has also been conducting tests on snowy roads and at night.

Ford: Collaborating with four new start-up companies

Velodyne   Ford has invested USD 75 million in Velodyne. The company has been conducting tests with LiDAR for more than 10 years. In collaboration with Velodyne, Ford is aiming for early mass production of low cost LiDAR.
SAIPS   Ford acquired SAIPS, an Israeli company that has superior capabilities in computer image analysis and machine learning.
Nirenberg Neuroscience   Ford has an exclusive license agreement with Machine Vision Company's Nirenberg Neuroscience. The founder, Sheila Nirenberg, has unraveled the neural code that human eyes send images to the brain with. The application of this concept provides autonomous virtual driving systems with an image recognition ability close to that of human eyes.
Civil Maps   Ford has invested in the California-based 3D map company Civil Maps. The automaker aims to develop higher resolution 3D map in collaboration with it.

Source: Ford press release on August 16, 2016
Note: Ford will use the technology obtained from these partnerships not only for future autonomous vehicles but also for improving ADAS technology in vehicles currently on sale.

Ford Smart Mobility LLC established to expand into mobility services

  The environment around automobiles is quickly moving from the era of ownership to one where vehicles are both owned and shared. Ford will respond to this by becoming "an auto and a mobility company" that provides mobility services even as it expands sales of its vehicles. It will lead the Ford Group in the fields of connectivity, mobility, and autonomous driving, and will enter the new field centering on mobility services, which have already become a USD 5.4 trillion market.

Expanding into shuttle and bike sharing in major cities

  Ford aims to build a wide ranging business model that covers modes of transport including bicycles, automobiles, shuttles, and buses.

  Ford will expand into the sharing business for shuttles and bikes (electric assisted bicycles) in major global cities starting with San Francisco. The company established a City Solution team as part of Ford Smart Mobility LLC. Half of the world's population currently lives in cities, and this ratio is expected to rise to 60% by 2030. Ford aims to play a part in solving the problem of metropolitan traffic, while also acquiring new customers and expanding its future profits.

  Although a shuttle usually refers to "a bus that operates in short intervals with specific destinations like at an airport or event venue," Ford will operate an on demand mini bus called Dynamic Shuttle with a capacity for 10 passengers. The automaker aims to offer a premium traveling space with more cabin room for each person than public buses to improve the boarding ratio (actual passenger capacity/riding capacity).

  Bike sharing is an integral part of the diverse transportation Ford is aiming for.

  The automaker plans to introduce a new bike that is being developed in the spring of 2017 and increase the number deployed in the San Francisco Bay Area from the current 700 to 7,000 by the end of 2018.

Ford plans to offer a wide
range of transportation services
Ford plans to offer a wide range of transportation services from bikes (electric assisted bicycles ) to buses (Source: Ford)
The shuttle  and Ford
The shuttle Ford will introduce by means of its acquisition of "Chariot" (the vehicle is a Ford Transit) and Ford GoBike, which will be introduced in collaboration with "Motivate" (Picture: Ford)

Expanding into the sharing business in major global cities

Acquiring Chariot   Ford will expand into the shuttle business to resolve traffic congestion and provide simpler transportation to users. The business will be rolled out in San Francisco to start, and expand to at least five other major global cities within 18 months.
  Ford Smart Mobility LLC acquired Chariot, which operates a shuttle service in San Francisco. Chariot began its business in 2014 and operates about 100 Ford Transit vehicles on-demand on 28 routes in San Francisco and the Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, and the areas around it).Ford is the industry leader in vans for government and local municipalities and commercial vehicles, and it will look to utilize these strengths.
Dynamic Shuttle   Dynamic Shuttle will use Ford Transit units with a riding capacity of 6 to 8 people. When a registered user requests a place to board and a destination with a smartphone, the shuttle calculates an optimal route from all of the passengers' destinations to improve both customer satisfaction and operating profit.
  When a new customer communicates their current position and destination with a smartphone, the software creates a new schedule without changing the arrival time of users who are already on board and informs the customer who sent the inquiry of the pickup time and time to their destination. They can then accept or reject the proposal. If it is accepted, the information is conveyed to the shuttle driver along with an updated route suitable to the requests of all of the passengers.

Source: Ford press release on September 9, 2016

Expanding into the bike sharing business

Collaborating with Motivate   Ford partnered with Motivate, which operates a bike sharing business in San Francisco and the Bay Area. In the future it will provide bike sharing to city dwellers and visitors under the name "Ford GoBike." By collaborating with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (Bay Area Traffic Authority) and cities in the Bay Area, Ford/Motivate's bike sharing service will be made available throughout the region. Ford plans to increase the number of bikes from the current 700 to 7,000 by the end of 2018.
Developing an electric bicycle prototype
Mode: Me
Mode: Pro
  In March, 2015, Ford unveiled two electric bicycle prototypes; "Mode: Me" and "Mode: Pro." Mode: Me is for commuting on crowded roads and can be folded and stored in the cargo space of a car. Mode: Pro is a concept for bicycle delivery.
Mode: Flex   In June 2015 Ford showcased a higher-class concept called the "Mode: Flex." It can be used for commuting, as a mountain bike, and for road cycling. For commuting, Ford is assuming that people will park their usual vehicles in a relatively low-priced parking lot in the suburbs, take the bike from the cargo space, and use it to go to their destinations (the "last mile" of the journey).
  Many technologies cultivated in vehicle production have been adopted for the Mode: Flex. It alerts riders to cars approaching from behind using an ultrasonic sensor. The bicycle adopts the same LED as the F-150, Ford GT for headlights and taillights. The batteries can be charged inside the vehicle. It also connects with the passenger's smartphone via the Mode Flex application and provides information such as route selection, road congestion, public transportation connections, weather, and the health condition of the rider.

Source: Ford press release on September 9, 2016

Ford's sales in 56 major countries in 2019 will be 6.52 million units (LMC Automotive)

LMC Automotive, Quarter 3 2016)

Ford Sales Forecast  According to LMC Automotive's sales forecast (3rd Quarter 2016), Ford's light vehicle sales in 56 major countries in 2016 will be 6.21 million units, up 1.4% from 2015 and nearly flat in 2017 (6.24 million units) and 2018 (6.29 million units). However, Ford's sales in 2019 will increase to 6.52 million units, up 3.6% from 2018, due to a flurry of new model releases in 2018, including all-new or fully-redesigned versions of the Ford Focus and Fusion, the Lincoln MKC and a new Midsize SUV. Ford will also bring back the Ranger and Bronco, due to debut in 2019, which will add incremental volume to the brand.

  The increase of sales in the US (100k units) and China (60k units) in 2019 from 2018 will account for 70% of the total increase (226k units).

  In the US, the largest market for Ford, the company is expected to see share rise over the course of LMC Automotive's forecast. Ford's market share will rise to 14.9% in 2019 from 14.8% in 2015 and will capture more from 2020 on. Growth will be aided by the expectation that the automaker will add numerous new entries to both Ford and Lincoln brands as a part of the series of model launches noted above. Ford plans to add a dedicated hybrid model in 2018, which will come as the C-Max exits. It should be more competitive with the Prius. A Small SUV will be introduced in 2019. The research company does not expect Lincoln's share to increase substantially, especially with new competitors entering the Premium segment from Alfa Romeo, Genesis, and expanding Tesla line-up.

  In China, the second largest market for Ford, sales in 2019 will increase to 1,150,000 units from 973,000 units in 2015. Ford Group's sales in Chinese market are set to see ongoing growth, particularly for the Lincoln luxury brand. Indeed, Ford is currently in talks with partner Changan Automobile Group about the production of Lincoln models at the Chongqing facility. This could begin as early as 2018, provided that Lincoln continues its strong growth trajectory in China, where it got off to a rapid start last year. However, no agreement has been reached on key points such as profit-sharing, and it may take until 2020, or later, for the first Lincolns roll off the line in China.

  Ford is set for a year of robust European sales in 2016, with the effects of Brexit likely to be postponed until 2017 and beyond. The UK is the biggest European car market for Ford, but the ramifications of Brexit could see the US brand lose valuable UK market volume in coming years. LMC Automotive expects market share in European market to hover just below 8% in 2016, and remains around this level until model-ageing effects start to take hold.

Ford's light vehicle sales in 56 major countries in 2019 will be 6.52 million units

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Ford Group Ford 5,682,966 5,751,928 6,001,916 6,065,916 6,088,750 6,147,470 6,367,542
Lincoln 91,644 106,593 124,759 145,572 146,787 140,166 145,877
Troller 1,145 1,483 2,019 1,478 1,489 1,613 1,707
Total 5,775,755 5,860,004 6,128,694 6,212,966 6,237,026 6,289,249 6,515,126
USA Ford 2,373,485 2,346,689 2,474,924 2,484,877 2,452,783 2,408,712 2,503,301
Lincoln 81,694 94,474 101,227 109,326 110,670 103,072 106,784
USA sub-total 2,455,179 2,441,163 2,576,151 2,594,203 2,563,453 2,511,784 2,610,085
China Ford 767,553 899,615 962,435 981,995 1,012,104 1,068,034 1,125,202
Lincoln 781 887 10,679 22,811 22,391 23,536 24,477
China sub-total 768,334 900,502 973,114 1,004,806 1,034,495 1,091,570 1,149,679
UK Ford 381,694 411,014 438,251 439,353 403,233 379,978 366,746
Canada Ford 274,480 283,630 266,346 285,249 287,928 289,480 297,967
Lincoln 5,814 6,816 7,939 8,192 7,965 7,734 8,154
Canada sub-total 280,294 290,446 274,285 293,441 295,893 297,214 306,121
Germany Ford 223,791 238,824 259,531 276,907 269,773 264,657 253,893
Brazil Ford 334,977 308,644 255,007 171,576 175,918 185,081 187,176
Troller 1,145 1,483 2,019 1,478 1,489 1,613 1,707
Brazil sub-total 336,122 310,127 257,026 173,054 177,407 186,694 188,883
Italy Ford 92,942 99,425 119,694 137,909 136,695 146,256 144,441
India Ford 81,657 77,140 77,715 87,795 93,378 100,303 122,466
Turkey Ford 109,493 86,665 118,434 110,191 108,715 114,906 119,452
Mexico Ford 84,152 77,703 85,976 98,210 98,842 99,306 114,941
Lincoln 1,766 1,868 2,071 2,517 2,712 2,674 3,101
Mexico sub-total 85,918 79,571 88,047 100,727 101,554 101,980 118,042
Spain Ford 55,650 70,662 87,098 85,655 105,571 108,517 109,504
Lincoln 0 3 0 1 0 0 0
Spain sub-total 55,650 70,665 87,098 85,656 105,571 108,517 109,504
France Ford 91,261 94,273 101,260 104,450 107,943 108,120 103,156
Argentina Ford 114,001 90,272 89,509 89,517 90,080 93,233 96,659
Russia Ford 106,624 65,966 38,606 44,108 49,940 63,521 89,193
Australia Ford 87,007 79,703 70,454 84,646 87,019 88,413 88,611
South Africa Ford 58,649 72,259 78,166 73,911 68,754 74,061 82,634
Netherlands Ford 36,150 26,351 32,390 33,557 40,824 42,711 41,985
Lincoln 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Netherlands sub-total 36,150 26,351 32,391 33,557 40,824 42,711 41,985
Poland Ford 22,699 27,229 30,797 33,503 37,792 38,753 39,709
Thailand Ford 51,223 38,087 36,492 34,314 32,762 35,408 37,983
Philippines Ford 13,231 20,341 25,372 32,579 34,617 37,586 37,565
Vietnam Ford 10,253 14,089 28,183 31,342 30,796 32,148 33,412
Belgium Ford 30,800 30,988 32,418 33,773 34,410 33,664 31,557
Taiwan Ford 23,937 22,002 20,469 24,074 28,478 28,711 29,057
Ireland Ford 10,180 13,789 18,517 23,282 25,773 26,932 26,860
Switzerland Ford 17,582 16,392 17,864 21,566 26,264 25,434 24,769
Lincoln 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Switzerland sub-total 17,582 16,393 17,865 21,566 26,264 25,434 24,769
Austria Ford 21,735 23,630 22,179 25,356 25,209 24,801 24,045
Czech Republic Ford 11,362 14,402 17,605 18,362 20,342 20,615 20,498
Lincoln 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Czech Republic sub-total 11,362 14,402 17,606 18,363 20,342 20,615 20,498
Denmark Ford 18,469 20,022 20,332 22,045 21,270 20,454 19,215
Sweden Ford 14,744 16,567 19,390 20,281 20,032 19,256 18,325
Lincoln 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Sweden sub-total 14,744 16,568 19,390 20,281 20,032 19,256 18,325
Hungary Ford 7,913 10,934 12,313 14,469 15,454 16,330 18,197
Colombia Ford 17,140 21,303 16,156 14,852 15,986 16,455 16,873
Korea Ford 5,625 6,178 7,519 9,071 8,612 9,816 11,124
Lincoln 1,589 2,540 2,839 2,724 3,049 3,150 3,361
Korea sub-total 7,214 8,718 10,358 11,795 11,661 12,966 14,485
Romania Ford 5,143 6,978 8,123 9,573 11,574 12,777 14,338
Finland Ford 10,223 10,130 11,306 12,903 13,828 14,204 14,061
New Zealand Ford 12,850 14,057 13,839 13,961 14,061 13,952 13,775
Lincoln 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
New Zealand sub-total 12,850 14,057 13,840 13,961 14,061 13,952 13,775
Portugal Ford 5,119 7,298 10,600 10,669 12,398 13,155 13,393
Norway Ford 12,682 11,800 13,440 13,756 14,392 13,673 13,052
Lincoln 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Norway sub-total 12,682 11,801 13,440 13,756 14,392 13,673 13,052
Chile Ford 14,737 13,448 11,534 12,998 12,231 12,466 13,013
Greece Ford 3,150 4,386 4,464 5,389 6,572 7,062 7,941
Ukraine Ford 11,799 5,054 2,972 4,288 5,227 6,338 7,871
Lincoln 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Ukraine sub-total 11,799 5,056 2,972 4,288 5,227 6,338 7,871
Malaysia Ford 10,660 13,921 12,057 8,071 7,341 7,345 7,755
Luxembourg Ford 2,388 2,695 2,560 3,271 4,073 4,042 3,926
Slovakia Ford 2,475 2,514 2,987 2,590 3,120 3,186 3,281
Slovenia Ford 2,949 3,085 4,383 3,798 3,514 3,444 3,200
Bulgaria Ford 1,041 1,880 1,906 2,193 2,148 2,317 2,528
Venezuela Ford 12,466 3,656 2,287 1,240 1,432 1,777 2,092
Peru Ford 2,258 1,376 1,704 1,742 1,857 1,976 2,029
Ecuador Ford 4,086 3,927 1,771 1,465 1,623 1,872 2,028
Uruguay Ford 1,605 1,530 1,303 1,302 1,421 1,444 1,555
Estonia Ford 899 1,097 949 1,164 1,408 1,431 1,508
Latvia Ford 661 519 927 1,096 1,094 1,191 1,318
Lithuania Ford 570 753 831 956 1,234 1,223 1,281
Singapore Ford 208 208 324 369 508 528 585
Kazakhstan Ford 442 373 405 393 397 415 496
Japan Ford 4,189 4,447 4,856 3,726 0 0 0
Indonesia Ford 9,907 12,008 4,986 228 0 0 0
Source: LMC Automotive "Global Automotive Sales Forecast (Quarter 3 2016)"
(Note) 1.  Data indicates figures of only small-size vehicle, including passenger cars and light commercial vehicles with gross vehicle weight of under 6 ton.
2.  All rights reserved. Reproduction of any data will require permission of LMC Automotive.
3.  For more information or inquiries of forecast data, please contact LMC Automotive.



Ford, Autonomous driving, ride-sharing, mobility services

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