A fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle (Ford)

Ford plans autonomous taxi fleet “by 2021”

19 August 2016 | By Joe Quirke 4 Comments

Ford Motors has announced that it will create a “high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle” by 2021.

The vehicle will be used for “ride sharing” like a car pool or bus and “ride hailing” like a cab.

The car will operate “without a steering wheel, gas or brake pedal, for use in commercial mobility”.

Ford’s movement towards a taxi service comes at a time when Uber is beginning to introduce their first self-driving cars.

Ford say their plan is to “be a leader in autonomous vehicles, as well as in connectivity, mobility, the customer experience, and data and analytics” and that they have been developing and testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years.

The firm has also said it was collaborating with four autonomous vehicle start-ups, and planned to double its teams in Silicon Valley and Palo Alto, California.

Ford will build two buildings with 46,000 square metres of work and lab space adjacent to the current Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto by the end of 2017.

This year the company 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. The company plans to triple this number again next year.

Mark Fields, Ford’s president, 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.”

Images: A fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle (Ford)