Ford pushes for automation

Ford has committed to developing high-volume autonomous vehicles to use in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing scheme within five years.

The car manufacturer is working with four start-ups to accelerate progress, doubling its Silicon Valley team and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus. This is part of Ford’s Smart Mobility plan, which it hopes will make it the world leader in autonomous vehicles, connectivity, mobility, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, said, ‘The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago. 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’s first autonomous vehicle will not have a steering wheel or pedals, and is being developed specifically for high-volume production to use in commercial mobility services. This year, Ford will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet to 30, making it the largest test fleet of any automaker, and has plans to triple it again next year.