Ford Motors is replacing ousted CEO Mark Fields with Jim Hackett, who had been the head of the automaker’s subsidiary responsible for autonomous development, reports the New York Times.
Ford’s board of directors is reportedly concerned that Ford is not properly positioned to develop and deploy self-driving vehicles in the years to come, and that the company could end up behind competitors in getting riders into its autonomous cars.
Ford has been looking to develop self-driving car technology, promising to have fully autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021 as part of a ride-sharing service. The automaker is developing these vehicles with two simultaneous efforts: one to build a car that can travel without a driver, and another to create a software suite that can autonomously control such a vehicle. These parallel projects have been expensive investments for Ford, which like other automakers has had to almost fully redesign its vehicles, building up redundancies in systems to compensate for the lack of a driver to, for instance, apply an emergency brake if the primary system fails.
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