A key factor that distinguished the most enthusiastic countries was how densely populated their cities are, Connelly said.
For example, the largest city in the United States by population is New York City, which is home to just over 8 million people. Even including some of the surrounding area, such as parts of New Jersey, New York barely qualifies for the list of “megacities,” those with populations greater than 10 million people.
By contrast, there are 23 million in Beijing’s city center, said Connelly. A single commute in the Chinese capital can last five hours.
Massive, crowded cities are found in India and Brazil, as well. In fact, the United Nations says most of the world’s megacities are located in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Out of 31 megacities identified by the U.N. in 2016, only New York and Los Angeles made the cut for U.S. cities. The only European cities were Paris and London.
In contrast, China alone is home to six megacities, and India claims five. In Brazil, both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were included in the list.
There are certainly traffic problems in cities in Europe and America, but people may not have the same sense of urgency. Countries such as the U.S. also have their own strong automotive heritages and car cultures that might be resistant to some types of change, Connelly said.
Whether or not autonomous cars will alleviate congestion has been a matter of debate. One argument holds self-driving cars will reduce traffic caused by accidents, for example. Autonomous cars may also make traffic move more fluidly because they will use advanced sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to behave more efficiently than human drivers.
But self-driving cars could also increase congestion, by, for example, filling the streets with empty autonomous vehicles on their way to pick up passengers.
But truly autonomous vehicles would free up passengers from the task of driving, allowing them to work, entertain themselves or talk with others.
Autonomy is one of the technologies Ford has been working on, as it tries to match a wider industry shift from solely making cars to offering a diverse set of new mobility technologies and businesses. For example, Ford has also made investments in other transportation businesses, such as commuters, bicycle rentals, car sharing and ride sharing.
But the company has to battle a perception among investors that it is behind competitors on these sorts of efforts. Ford’s stock has lagged behind those of some rivals — shares are up just 3.5 percent year to date, compared with a roughly 21 percent rise in shares of General Motors and a 46 percent increase in shares of upstart Tesla.
Source : CNBC