Tag Archives: Ford

Ethics and Driverless Cars

Driverless

Technology has the power to change lives in amazing ways. Advances in new technologies changes everything from medicine, to communications, to socialization, to how we live our daily lives. Yet, the impacts of technology on human life are not always examined beforehand. Rather, new technologies are adopted, integrated into businesses and lives, and we let the chips fall where they may.

However, not all companies are willing to let things just happen and then work out solutions later. One complex technology that will impact all lives is the emerging adoption of driverless cars – cars that operate without a human touch. Ford Company has recently hired ethicists to help deal with thorny issues of driverless cars. For example, what happens if an autonomous car is driving down the road, a mother suddenly steps into a crosswalk, the car cannot break, and if it swerves, there are other vulnerable people on the side of the road… what should happen? Where should the car veer? The human mind can have trouble with quick decisions. What is the expectation of technology in making life-and-death decisions?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Kick off the discussion by showing a video of Googles’ driverless car: http://youtu.be/CqSDWoAhvLU
  2. Next, have students brainstorm the ways in which this technology will impact businesses and lives.
  3. What industries are impacted by the new technologies?
  4. What will the impact be on human lives?
  5. Discuss the role of ethics in business. Have students brainstorm some of the ethical issues that may arise from driverless cars. List the issues on the board.
  6. Finally, show the video of Ford CEO, Mark Fields, discussing how Ford intends to address the ethical issues:

http://youtu.be/ideuxDEFgAg

Source: Manufacturing Business Technology, CNN Money

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A Classic Smack-Down: Cadillac vs. Ford

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New commercials from automotive competitors Cadillac and Ford show differing views about the American work ethic.

First to the mat was Cadillac promoting its version of American values: the hard-working, hard-charging rich guy. The actor wonders why he and other Americans work hard all the time, gain riches beyond compare, but citizens in other countries are lazy because they take-off work for the month of August. What does it say about societal values of the countries? We’re the winners because we work harder (and are richer) than other populations.

In contrast to this premise is Ford’s ad showcasing its version of American values: the equally hard-working African-American female. This actor speaks of the need to work hard, believe anything is possible, and try to make the world a better place. What does this say about societal values. We’re the winners because we work hard and give a damn about helping the world.

View the two ads and decide for yourself.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Review the two advertisements and products. Videos:

Cadillac: http://youtu.be/qGJSI48gkFc
Ford: http://youtu.be/jAN61QK0aUI
2.  Discuss competition. Why is Ford taking on Cadillac with the ad?
3. What are other competitors? How should they react?
4. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare Ford with Cadillac. What are the points of difference (what make products different from competitors)?
5. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Business Insider

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The Costs of Car Ownership

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Most of us have noticed that it costs more than ever to own and operate today’s automobiles. Between gas, maintenance, finance charges and more, an annual report by AAA auto club provides an eye-opening look at the monthly costs.

For example, if you drive a mid-size Sedan such as a Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion, the monthly costs are an average of $760 per month – $9,150 per year for gas, tires, coverage, license fees, etc. For an SUV, the monthly costs are even hirer, approximately $967 every month – that’s $11,600 annually! And let’s not forget about random expenses such as carwashes, parking fees, and speeding tickets. Add in the square footage costs of your garage – roughly 400 square feet at $100/sq. ft. totals $40,000 of mortgage going to house your car.

Whew… Makes us reconsider the costs of daily commuting vs. public transportation.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Start this discussion by dividing students into groups. Have each group develop a list of all the costs of buying a new car.
2. Next, have the groups develop a list of all the costs of owning a new car.
3. Record their answers on the white board for all to see.
4. Show the ownership chart from the Wall Street Journal article:  “Mercedes or Ford, a Car Costs a Lot More Than You Think” http://on.wsj.com/OsJjeZ
5. How does the WSJ list compare to students’ estimates? What was surprising, expected?
6. How might these costs affect people’s decisions on where to work and live?

Source: Wall Street Journal, 3/14/15

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