Ford plans to mass-produce a fully autonomous self-driving car without a steering wheel by 2021.
Company president Mark Fields outlined the bold plan at an event in Palo Alto, California.
Ford said it would double its investment in its research centre in the city, as well as collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development and doubling its Silicon Valley team.
“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.
“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.”
This year, Ford will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet to be the largest test fleet of any car maker – bringing the number to about 30 self-driving Fusion (Mondeo) Hybrid saloons on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan, with plans to triple it again next year.
Autonomous vehicles in 2021 are part of Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a “leader in autonomous vehicles, as well as in connectivity, mobility, the customer experience, and data and analytics”.