Ford has announced a plan to have a ride-sharing service featuring high-volume, fully autonomous vehicles in commercial operation by 2021.
To get there, the company 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.
Autonomous vehicles in 2021 are part of Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in autonomous vehicles, connectivity, mobility, and data and analytics.
Building on more than a decade of autonomous vehicle research and development, Ford’s first fully autonomous vehicle will be an SAE level 4-capable vehicle. Plans are to design it to operate without a steering wheel, gas or brake pedal, for use in commercial mobility services such as ride sharing and ride hailing within geo-fenced areas and be available in high volumes.
This year, Ford will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet to be the largest test fleet of any automaker—bringing the number to about 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan, with plans to triple it again next year.