The future of the autonomous car is not so far off in the future.
Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday announced plans to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.
The company said in a press release that it is investing in or collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development, doubling its Silicon Valley team and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus.
“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,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, said in a statement. “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.”
Rep. Debbie Dingell hailed the announcement in a statement:
“Today’s announcement from Ford is further proof that the American auto industry is staying at the forefront of global innovation. Ford and Michigan companies are leading the way in the development of this revolutionary technology that has the potential to improve safety and efficiency, and shape the future of mobility in this country for decades to come."