Ford wants a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021 1

Ford wants a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021

While the reality of having an autonomous, self-driving car that can handle all the important stuff like avoiding traffic, getting you to work on time and in one piece while you’re playing Pokemon Go is an elusive pipe dream, Ford is taking steps to make sure that it’s a reality by 2021. To wit, their goal is to have an autonomous self driving vehicle that’s smart enough to be used in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service on its own.

Ford Fusion Hybrid Research and Innovation Campus

In order to do that, Ford is adding major manpower to the project: their Silicon Valley R&D team has been effectively doubled; that’s twice the number of boffins working on the project than before. They’re also working with four start-ups to get the ball rolling and tripling their test fleet of Fusion Hybrid sedans to 30 vehicles with plans for triple it again next year. All this is in line with Ford’s overall goal of Smart Mobility technology where they aim to take point as a leader in autonomous vehicles.
Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Vehicle on the road

To create an autonomous vehicle isn’t something you can just pull like a rabbit out of a hat. An AI, even a smart one by modern standards needs to rely on a host of input to drive safely. The AI has to intepret that input correctly as well in a fashion and manner that would be as good as or equivalent to human judgement. That’s why Ford is working with the four aforementioned start-ups – Velodyne, SAIPS, Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC and Civil Maps. Velodyne is one of the noted experts in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors that can go towards an autonomous vehicle’s sensor suite. The end goal here is to make a LiDAR sensor cheap enough for mass production in an autonomous vehicle. SAIPS is an expert in AI and solutions for deep learning for AI so that autonomous vehicles can learn and respond to their surroundings. Nirenberg is a machine vision company that helps to bring humanlike intelligence to an autonomous vehicle’s AI. Civil Maps is a trailblazer for 3D mapping tech and aims to develop an efficient high-resolution 3D map that autonomous vehicles can interpret and use. It’s all early days but if it all gels together, we can all be catching a snooze on a smart, capable AI-driven ride six years from now. For more details, follow Ford on their official site at