In just five years, Ford says it will have a fleet of fully autonomous vehicles intended to service the rising car-sharing and ride-failing industry. Leading up to this goal, the company intends to double the number of people at the Silicon Valley research center, ands add 60 autonomous vehicles to the fleet of 30 already deployed.
While it may seem like an aggressive plan, other companies such as Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Google have all announced they intend to see their own autonomous vehicles by 2020.
Still, none of these companies have made promises as specific as Ford’s, nor do they have the resources that Ford seemingly has to make it possible. In July 2016, the company invested in the Berkeley startup, Civil Maps which turns LiDAR data into maps automated cars can read.
Ford even signed with Nirenberg Neuroscience as a way to tap into their machine vision and deep learning technology. Saips, another partner, will work to help automated vehicles identify common road hazards.
No word yet on who Ford will work with to run the fleet, nor will the company disclose details in terms of design, but this does highlight the company’s focus on autonomous technology.