Ford Motor Co. plans to sell a fully autonomous car to the public by the middle of the 2020 decade, after it plans to supply a fully autonomous vehicle to ride-hailing companies, the company told Automotive Fleet.
Bloomberg, Road and Track and several other outlets initially reported that CEO Mark Fields said the company would offer driverless cars to the public by 2025, but sources told Automotive Fleet there is no precise timetable.
CEO Mark Fields provided an update about the company's autonomous vehicle initiative during a Sept. 12 speech at company headquarters. Fields told gathered reporters including Automotive Fleet that Ford sees the next decade being defined by "the automation of the automobile."
Ford will also begin shuttling its employees in fully autonomous cars at its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters in 2018, reports the Detroit News
Ford is setting itself up to become a broader mobility and automotive company. Earlier this month, Ford purchased Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service. Ford.
In August, Ford announced it would provide fully autonomous vehicles to ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. The company announced it would invest in — or collaborating with — four startups including Velodyne, SAIPS, Nirenberg Neuroscience, and Civil Maps. Ford is doubling its Silicon Valley team and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus.
Ford is also partnering with start-ups Spatial, HAAS Alert, and Cargo to explore next-generation vehicle technologies such as interactive mapping, connectivity, and ride-hailing.
Autonomous vehicles are part of Ford's Smart Mobility plan to become a leader in autonomous vehicles, connectivity, mobility, the customer experience, and analytics.