Automaker Ford has announced its plans to develop fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. The company is aiming to offer these self-driving cars to ride-sharing or ride-hailing services, according to Ford officials.
Ford said it intends to have a “fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle” in commercial operation in five years.
Ford’s self-driving vehicle will have no steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal to allow a human driver to take control in a recreational environment or in case of emergency. Ford executives discussed driverless technology as an accessibility issue, both physically and financially. Machine-driven ride services could provide mobility to people unable to drive themselves and afford a private vehicle of their own.
As part of this effort, Ford plans to double the personnel at its Silicon Valley offices. Ford also announced investments in technology companies that specialize in light sensors, machine learning, artificial vision intelligence and high-resolution maps.
This announcement follows an agreement between rival auto company General Motors and the ride-hailing service Lyft to test self-driving electric cars within the next year.