On Tuesday Ford announced their plans to create vehicles that are fully autonomous by 2021, also expressing their desire to sell these to ride-sharing services like Uber.
The proposed car set to be built will be fully automated and will not include a steering wheel, a gas tank, or brake pedals. The car-manufacturing giant is poised to reach this goal in the near future and will also invest millions in the project.
Ford has recently invested $150 million in Velodyne, by way of a joint investment with Baidu. It is an important investment for the company, as Velodyne creates a vital element for self-driving cars called Lidar, .
Additionally, Ford is planning to expand its team of developers and will hire more people, doubling it to more than 300 employees at their headquarters in Palo Alto, California by the end of next year.
Company executives said the company has been focusing on obtaining the hardware and software necessary to build the driverless car. At this stage, Ford is not yet in the production stage, as they are still formulating their vision for the vehicle's exterior.
The Ford executives say their primary goal is to create a vehicle with an SAE Level 4 standard of automation, which would give the vehicle the capacity to control all features of driving, at least within regions where it is legal to drive these new automated vehicles, .
Ford's Chief Executive, Mark Fields, revealed that the company is also working with technology firms based in Silicon Valley. "We're not in a race to be first," Fields said at the company's Palo Alto research and development lab, .
Fields said that once the company has produced a driverless vehicle, they will determine whether it would be beneficial to partner with drive-sharing companies.