Ford to mass-produce driverless cars in 2021

Audi to make cars that talk to traffic lights too

Ford has said it will produce driverless cars that have no steering wheel by 2021.

The plan was outlined by Ford's president Mark Fields at an event in Palo Alto, California. He said the automaker would double its research investment as well as make a number of investments in the field of driverless cars.

He said that cars without steering wheels or pedals would be on the road by 2021. The fleet of cars would act as taxis. Customers would be able to hail them like taxis, which would mean taking on the likes of Uber as well as the cab industry.

"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," said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. "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."

The firm is also looking to triple its fleet of autonomous vehicles in a bid to be the largest test fleet of any car manufacturer.

Ford has also made a number of investments in the field. Among them are: Velodyne, the Silicon Valley-based company involving light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors; Israel-based computer vision and machine learning company Saips; Nirenberg Neuroscience, a machine vision company; and Civil Maps, developer of scalable, 3D mapping technique.

The carmaker is also expanding its Silicon Valley operations, including a campus in Palo Alto.

"Our presence in Silicon Valley has been integral to accelerating our learning and deliverables driving Ford Smart Mobility," said Ken Washington, Ford's vice president of research and advanced engineering. "Our goal was to become a member of the community. Today, we are actively working with more than 40 startups, and have developed a strong collaboration with many incubators, allowing us to accelerate development of technologies and services."

The news comes as Audi said it would introduce a technology that would enable its cars to talk to traffic lights. Known as "vehicle-to-infrastructure" or "V-to-I", the technology, the technology will see an exchange of data between the car and road infrastructure through the cloud.

It will appear in A4 cars built after 1 June and will be added to some Q7 models next year. It is hoped the tech will prevent some crashes and decrease traffic congestion.

Pom Malhotra, the general manager of Audi's connected vehicles division, told Reuters: "This is designed not as a safety feature, but a comfort and convenience feature."

The system was developed by Traffic Technology Services and will be introduced into Europe when the infrastructure is ready, according to Audi.

Featured Resources

The complete guide to changing your phone system provider

Optimise your phone system for better business results

Download now

Simplify cluster security at scale

Centralised secrets management across hybrid, multi-cloud environments

Download now

The endpoint as a key element of your security infrastructure

Threats to endpoints in a world of remote working

Download now

2021 state of IT asset management report

The role of IT asset management for maximising technology investments

Download now

Recommended

Argo AI closes $2.6 billion deal with Volkswagen
automation

Argo AI closes $2.6 billion deal with Volkswagen

2 Jun 2020
The slow road to driverless cars
automation

The slow road to driverless cars

18 Apr 2020
Uber car involved in fatal crash had software flaws
Business strategy

Uber car involved in fatal crash had software flaws

6 Nov 2019

Most Popular

How Liberty navigated a site relaunch during a pandemic
Sponsored

How Liberty navigated a site relaunch during a pandemic

8 Oct 2020
Do smart devices make us less intelligent?
artificial intelligence (AI)

Do smart devices make us less intelligent?

19 Oct 2020
Politicians need to stop talking about technology
Policy & legislation

Politicians need to stop talking about technology

21 Oct 2020