Categories: InnovationResearch

Ford Plans Self-Driving Cars By 2021

Automotive giant Ford has outlined its plans to manufacture a fleet of driverless, autonomous cars by 2021.

The cars would be supplied to ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber, which are themselves working on autonomous driving technologies.

The plans were announced this week by Ford CEO Mark Fields, who said he wants to double the amount of investment in the company’s Silicon Valley research centres.

While Ford has been working on self-driving car technologies for the better part of a decade, this is the first occasion the company has announced a release date for autonomous vehicles.

No steering wheels

The cars will be free of a steering wheel and pedals, and will initially be used exclusively in the ride-sharing market, rather than offered to consumers.

“There’s a real business rationale for this,” said Fields, as reported by the Financial Times.

“Vehicle autonomy could have as big an impact on society as the Ford mass assembly line had over 100 years ago.”

But Ford will be fighting in a competitive market. Google has already been actively testing its self-driving cars on Californian roads, and BMW and Apple are also gearing up for autonomous automobiles.

In the UK, Jaguar Land Rover said it is to start testing self-driving cars on British roads, and plans to roll out a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles by 2020.

The company plans to roll out the first of the test vehicles by as early as the end of this year, and will test them on a 41-mile route close to its headquarters in Coventry. The route consists of motorways and urban roads.


However, Ford believes a number of investments can give it the edge, with the company ploughing money alongside China’s Baidu into Velodyne, a company that makes laser-based guidance technology. Ford has also purchased Israel’s SAIPS, a machine learning startup.

Earlier this year, Ford also invested in cloud company Pivotal, which already works with Ford on a number of smart car projects. Ford uses Pivotal’s Big Data Suite in its connected vehicle platforms, and Ford’s FordPass, which allows drivers to monitor their cars from a mobile app, is also built on Pivotal Software’s technology. The company has also aligned with Google to help lobby the US government to produce ‘rules of the road’ for autonomous vehicles.

Ford said that it will begin road tests in Arizona and California by 2017.

Take our technology ‘believe it or not’ quiz here!

Ben Sullivan

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

Recent Posts

OpenAI, Broadcom In Talks Over Development Of AI Chip – Report

Rebelling against Nividia? OpenAI is again reportedly exploring the possibility of developing its own AI…

2 days ago

Microsoft Outage Impacts Airlines, Media, Banks & Businesses Globally

IT outage causes major disruptions around the world, after Crowdstrike update allegedly triggers Microsoft outages

2 days ago

GenAI Integration Efforts Hampered By Costs, SnapLogic Finds

Hefty investment. SnapLogic research finds UK businesses are setting aside three-quarters of their IT budgets…

3 days ago

Meta Refuses EU Release Of Multimodal Llama AI Model

Mark Zuckerberg firm says European regulatory environment too ‘unpredictable’, so will not release multimodal Llama…

3 days ago

Synchron Announces Brain Interface Chat Powered by OpenAI

Brain implant firm Synchron offers AI-driven emotion and language predictions for users, powered by OpenAI's…

3 days ago