Ford has promised to mass produce the worldâs first high volume, fully autonomous vehicle to operate in a sharing or ride hailing service by 2021.
The car manufacturer has unveiled its ambitious plan to mass produce a largely autonomous car for commercial operation in the next five years.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Ford pioneered industrial assembly line techniques in the making of its famous Model T and is now investing in and collaborating with a number of start-ups alongside Chinaâs Baidu and is set to double the number of workers at its Silicon Valley campus in Palo Alto, California.
Over the last few months, the advance of autonomous cars into the mainstream market has hit a series of stumbling blocks after Teslaâs Autopilot feature, a beta system designed to control vehicles in a limited way in motorway driving conditions, was found to be implicated in a number of crashes, one of which turned out to be fatal.
However, this has not deterred Ford from trying to become a market leader in autonomous vehicle manufacturing, with its Smart Mobility scheme already seeing the company embrace mobility, connectivity and data analytics feature in its vehicle production.
Mark Fields, President and CEO of Ford, commented: Weâre dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people â not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.
Fields added that he believes the next ten year period will be defined by automation of the automobile and that autonomous vehicles could have as big an impact on society as the manufacturerâs moving assembly line did 100 years ago.
The proposed vehicle will have a Level 4 Society of Automotive Engineers (SEA) autonomous vehicle rating and, according to the SAEâs rating scheme, will have total control over acceleration and steering.