Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it plans to deploy a fully autonomous and driverless ride-hailing car by 2021.
CEO Mark Fields set the target at Ford’s Research and Innovation facility here, which will double its staff to 300 and grow its footprint by 150,000 square feet by year’s end to respond to the challenge.
“This is one example of how we’re thinking about expanding our business into mobility more broadly,” Fields told USA TODAY. “Taking the driver out of the equation improves the economics for us as well as consumers.”
Currently, Ford is testing around a dozen self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrids on California, Michigan and Arizona roads. Its goal is to introduce cars with no steering wheels or pedals. The car’s powertrain has yet to be decided, but Ford executives stressed that for commercial applications such as ride hailing a more flexible gas-electric hybrid engine may be preferable to pure electric.