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Ford’s Ken Washington: Autonomous Vehicles Aren’t About to Drive Off Without Us

Do intelligent machines threaten to not only to steal our jobs, but to rob us of the pleasure of driving? Ford VP of Research and Advanced Engineering Ken Washington says that while “technologies are maturing at an unprecedented pace,” robots won’t be coming for our jobs, or for our steering wheels, any time soon. With the emergence of the Internet of Things and sensor technology, “autonomous capabilities are no longer just things of science fiction,” says Washington. However, he adds, “this notion that one day your’e going to wake up and go the dealer and buy an autonomous car is flawed.” There are already technologies in cars sold today that can help you stay in your lane, alert you when someone’s in your blind spot, help you park your car, and see around corners. But, says Washington, the idea that the technology will displace drivers or, more importantly, displace jobs, is ill-founded.

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  • Worse, the dismal software quality levels in the automobile industry will lead to highway fratricide and lawsuits that dwarf the GM ignition fiasco.