As I went through the tours, thinking about cars in general and how we are on the cusp of a future of driverless cars becoming reality for everyone, I was impressed with how relevant Henry Ford still is. I find this very impressive considering that in many ways he wasn’t an “idea person.” For me, the most impressive part of Henry Ford’s legacy, is that he took ideas — not always his own — and applied them better than anyone else in history.
Horseless Carriages, Zero Emissions, & Driverless Cars
As the world catches up to innovations, it seems that we often use the past to describe the future. Cars were first called “horseless carriages.” Then it was zero emission (electric) vehicles. Now the latest innovation is “driverless cars.” Perhaps this is a nod to our fascination with the past, and the fact that we have a soft spot for the history of automotive, and Henry Ford.
Would the assembly line, mass production, living wages and even the city of Detroit exist today without Ford? Perhaps. Would we be living in a world where driverless cars existed this quickly? I’d argue no, we’d still be years away. Ford — like Steve Jobs — didn’t invent all these things, but he executed and streamlined them better than anyone else.
The Future of Manufacturing: Explore 2017
Be sure to join us at Explore this year. We’re filling in agenda that is relevant to all of manufacturing, and uses many automotive examples of how manufacturing has evolved. While you’re in Detroit, take some time to visit the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village and the Ford Rouge Factory. I promise you won’t be disappointed!