Ford's Plan For Self-Driving Cars Appears In Danger

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Thankfully, the Mustang Mach-E is still set to arrive later this year.

One of Ford's most exciting ventures for next year was to be the launch of its autonomous robotaxi service - essentially, these self-driving taxis can pick up and drop customers off without the need for a driver. The advantage over regular ride-hailing services like Uber would be reduced costs to the consumer. Unfortunately, due to changing customer behaviors in light of the coronavirus, Ford has elected to push back the robotaxi service to 2022.

Ford made the announcement as part of its Q1 2020 financial report which, as you can imagine, made for tough reading. A $2-billion loss in the first three months of the year probably doesn't make for the best foundation to launch an all-new, radical service like the robotaxi. But it's not all bad news, as the new Bronco and Mustang Mach-E are still expected before the end of the year.

Ford
Ford
Ford

News of the postponed robotaxi comes after Ford tested self-driving prototypes in cities like Austin and Miami, with several self-driving Fusion sedans spotted around these areas. We previously reported on the self-driving vehicles being used to deliver groceries to customers at home, too.

In a statement, Ford said: "Given the challenges of the current business environment, as well as the need to evaluate the long-term impact of Covid-19 on customer behaviors, Ford has made the decision to shift the launch of its self-driving services to 2022." The statement went on to emphasize the importance for customers to feel "safe and protected" in the vehicles they travel in, a nod to the pandemic and the need for increased social distancing.

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Ford
Ford

Ford's decision may be a disappointment for commuters, but it's likely a wise move on the automaker's part, as there is no telling exactly what consumer habits will be when life eventually returns to normal. In China, surveys have already shown that more people intend to purchase private cars in the months ahead, a trend that may also be repeated in the US.

And private transportation doesn't get much more intriguing than with the arrival of the Mustang Mach-E, which remains the biggest move for Ford this year - we can't wait to experience this Tesla rival in the flesh, especially since we found out it's going to be even more powerful than expected. Although the 2020 allocation of the Mach-E has been accounted for, selected trims will be delivered to customers this year, provided everything goes according to schedule. The EV should help Ford close out the year on a much more positive note.

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