Ford to mass-produce driverless cars for ride sharing in 2021
Ford is to start mass-producing driverless vehicles for ride-sharing services from 2021.
Saying that the next decade would be “defined by automation of the automobile”, the carmaker announced that it will invest in or collaborate with four startups on autonomous vehicle development.
“We see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”
Ford added that its first fully automated vehicle will be SAE level 4-capable and will have no steering wheel or pedals and is being specifically designed for commercial mobility services, such as ride sharing and ride hailing.
“Ford has been developing and testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “We have a strategic advantage because of our ability to combine the software and sensing technology with the sophisticated engineering necessary to manufacture high-quality vehicles. That is what it takes to make autonomous vehicles a reality for millions of people around the world.”
This year, Ford will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet to about 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid saloons on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan – said to be the largest test fleet of any automaker – with plans to triple it again next year.