Mark Fields, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, announced the company’s intent to produce fully autonomous self-driving vehicles for a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service by 2021.
The vehicles will not have steering wheels, gas pedals or brake pedals and a driver will not be required. Ford is among the first to develop fully autonomous vehicles rather than semi-autonomous that still require a driver.
“We abandoned a stepping-stone approach and created a dedicated “top down” engineering program to deliver fully autonomous vehicles and the new mobility solutions and business opportunities that a fully autonomous vehicle could deliver,” said Fields in a blog post.
Fields believes that fully autonomous vehicles would reduce car-related fatalities, pollution and traffic congestion, while allowing those who are not able to drive, such as the disabled, to get around more efficiently.
Ford will expand its Research and Innovation Center building in Silicon Valley to an entire campus and double its staff by the end of next year. They also announced four new partnerships to accompany the project.