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Ford To Offer Self-Driving Cars Without Steering Wheels By 2021

1CK1S1CK1S Posts: 27,472 ✭✭✭✭✭

Ford Motor Co. today announced its plans to begin mass producing a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021 that it will sell for ride hailing markets such as Uber.

Ford's vehicle will be manufactured with no steering wheel, no gas or brake pedal. In other words, a driver will not be required.

"The world is changing, and it's changing quickly. We're not sitting on the sidelines. Ford will be actively driving that change," Ford CEO Mark Fields said during a news conference held at the company's Palo Alto, Calif. research facility.

Ford is planning to add two new buildings and 150,000 square feet of work and lab space adjacent to the current Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, doubling the size of the research team by the end of 2017. Currently, the facility has 130 researchers, engineers and scientists.


"It's now clear that the next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile. In fact, we see autonomous vehicles as having as big an impact on society as Ford's moving assembly line did a hundred years ago," Fields added.

Ford CTO Raj Nair described the move to create a fully autonomous fleet in five years as a change of plans from the company's previous direction of incrementally rolling out self-driving technology. Fields described the effort as a "top down engineering program."

What Ford will not be producing by 2021 is a fully autonomous vehicle for consumers, according to Nair. That will come several years after the 2021 release of an autonomous ride-sharing fleet because the "economics don't make sense" and the company has yet to determine how to hand control of a vehicle back to a driver safely.

"Our strategy is not about level three automation that would require a driver," Nair said.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created five levels to describe autonomous functionality, level 0 equating to no self-driving features and level 4 being a fully self-driving vehicle without a driver. Level 3 would be a fully-autonomous vehicle that allows a driver to retake control of the vehicle.

In order to achieve its autonomous vehicle goal, Ford announced four technology partnerships, including investing $75 million in Velodyne, a Silicon Valley-based leader in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors.

The aim, Ford said, is to quickly mass-produce a more affordable automotive LiDAR sensor.

Ford is also acquiring SAIPS, an Israel-based computer vision and machine learning company that will increase the automaker's expertise in artificial intelligence and enhanced computer vision systems. Ford also penned a licensing agreement with German-based Nirenberg Neuroscience, a machine vision company founded by neuroscientist Dr. Sheila Nirenberg. The partnership will offer Ford machine learning modules for its autonomous vehicle virtual driver system.

In July, Ford announced it had also invested in Civil Maps, a Berkeley, Calif. developer of high-resolution 3D mapping capabilities.


Ford said it is doubling down on autonomous driving technology because it will provide a new revenue stream previously not available from the ride-sharing and ride-hailing marketplace.

Fields said autonomous vehicles will also open up transportation to huge swaths of society, including the elderly and infirm who are unable to drive themselves. Autonomous technology will also address the fact that the nature of vehicle ownership is changing, Fields said, alluding to the fact that many millennials today begin driving later in life and sometimes rely solely on ride-sharing services.

Fields also noted that autonomous driving technology will reduce both pollution through more efficient use of vehicles and safety by allowing computers to take control.

"Right now, there are more than 30,000 motor vehicle deaths per year in the U.S. and 90% of them can be attributed to human error," Fields said.

This year, Ford plans to triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet, which it said will make it the largest such fleet of any automaker -- bringing the number to about 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan; it plans to triple that fleet again next year, Fields said.

"For most people, autonomous vehicles are a new idea, so we also understand that trust matters," Fields said. "We have spent the past century earning that trust. We know how to make safe, quality vehicles at high volumes to meet the needs of people around the world."
I don't have dreams I have goals. Dreams are what you have when you are sleep. Goals are what you strive to reach when you are awake!


  • TheGOATTheGOAT El Coyote unknownPosts: 15,916 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I rode in a Tesla for 1st time a couple weeks ago. Shit was baller.
  • babelipsssbabelipsss Posts: 2,517 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I love the very idea of a self driving car! I will get one as soon as it's available to consumers. Ford is gonna make a killing. It's gonna suck for the people who make a living as a chauffeur though.
  • Like WaterLike Water Integrity 1st Posts: 5,265 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "Be well, John Spartan."
    The jungle creed says the strongest feed on any prey that it can
    And I was branded beast at every feast before I ever became a man...
    Young StefUnknownUsergalaxy_1221illestni99ainne
  • KingFreemanKingFreeman Way UpPosts: 13,731 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Drive yo ass straight off a fucking bridge. Pass.

    Didn't a tesla just fuck up and kill dude the other day? Keep playing.
  • zzombiezzombie Posts: 11,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'll take one with a wheel just in case
  • VIBEVIBE Posts: 54,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'll let the beta users take this one for a few years
  • KINGECKINGEC Posts: 7,833 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Fuck all dat
  • T. SanfordT. Sanford Trill Doggy Dogg (Legion Of Trill) Posts: 25,291 ✭✭✭✭✭
    No thanks, imma need Jesus to take the wheel

    Me: Have you ever heard of T. Sanford

    Karla: Yeah

    Me: This is T. Sanford, Come on down here and let me tap that ass
  • StiffStiff Legion of Trill BG Posts: 7,723 ✭✭✭✭✭
    zzombie wrote: »
    I'll take one with a wheel just in case

    Real shit tho..they not offering ANY safety net in case shit malfunction on the highway?no wheel,no BRAKES, no gas? They arrogant as hell

  • CapitalBCapitalB all these dollars.. no sense. Posts: 24,556 ✭✭✭✭✭
    my shit pretty much drives itself.
    its like a cruise control on steroids..

    slows down.. speeds up and stops on its on pacing the car in front.. stays in the lane and everything.. even at bends..

    but i still dont trust that shit..

    ill take my hands off the wheel for a hot second tho to show off to the passenger.. but nah.. im cool on givin TOTAL control to a car.
    TOO REAL for IC
  • Olorun22Olorun22 Posts: 5,696 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Fuck that ford made a GT car that didn't go one fuckin lap in the race lol
  • Arya TsaddiqArya Tsaddiq Shalawam The Daughter of BabylonPosts: 15,334 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This won't be as good a thing as yall think it will be....

  • Will MunnyWill Munny Eatin pussy and kickin ass Posts: 30,199 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I wonder if even if it makes driving vastly safer, if people will feel comfortable with it even if its not 100% safe. like even if it cuts accidents by 3/4, would people still accept it?
    Times are tough, but they ain't got nothin' on me.
  • Arya TsaddiqArya Tsaddiq Shalawam The Daughter of BabylonPosts: 15,334 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016
    Will Munny wrote: »
    I wonder if even if it makes driving vastly safer, if people will feel comfortable with it even if its not 100% safe. like even if it cuts accidents by 3/4, would people still accept it?

    Im a paranoid person. And i always look for the potential insidious plan behind things that will effect the masses. And this seems off....

    Hackers could potentially have a field day with this. And what about if a "national emergency" occurs and every car gets routed to the nearest "safe house"....

    Not enough control. They already are puttin wifi in vehicles with speakers and voice command fuunctions. Im cool
    KingFreemanWill MunnyDoUwant2go2Heavenblakfyahking
  • L3NUL3NU Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't have a problem with self driving cars but it needs to have a manual option... That shit gonna be following the speed limit and not passing drivers while I'm 30 mins late to work??

    I ain't getting fired cuz it wants to follow the law let me drive like a maniac
  • TheGOATTheGOAT El Coyote unknownPosts: 15,916 ✭✭✭✭✭
    L3NU wrote: »
    I don't have a problem with self driving cars but it needs to have a manual option... That shit gonna be following the speed limit and not passing drivers while I'm 30 mins late to work??

    I ain't getting fired cuz it wants to follow the law let me drive like a maniac

    Thats the Tesla.

    Zero to 60mph in 2.8 seconds

    Shit is powerful as hell. You feel it in your chest
  • FosheezyFosheezy AKA Flying Wonders the Diamond Mind Posts: 3,204 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Shit sound like a set up to kill all smart-dumb mf's

  • TheGOATTheGOAT El Coyote unknownPosts: 15,916 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Could eventually end drinking and driving.

    Imagine you could tint the windows and just fuck your wifey on the way to the grocery store
  • mryounggunmryounggun Loading up my Grey Matter Glock Posts: 13,451 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I dunno why ANYONE would drive a self-driving car.
  • atribecalledgabiatribecalledgabi DragonstonePosts: 14,063 Regulator
    Ford barely make trustworthy self-driving cars. Hell to the nah
  • Melanin_Enriched Melanin_Enriched Your favorite basketball-american gentleman Posts: 22,868 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How lazy can you be that you need a self driving car?
    *Top 5 background poster*
    Started fucking with photoshop
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