Ford wants to have autonomous ride sharing cars and taxis by 2021

Ford has stated its ambition to have a SAE level 4 autonomous vehicle available by 2021 for ride sharing and taxi companies to use.

Mark Fields, Ford’s CEO, said, “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago. We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”

The company currently has a fleet of 30 Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous test vehicles working the streets of California, Arizona, and Michigan. Ford will triple the size of its fleet in 2017.

To reach its 2021 target of commercializing an autonomous car for taxi and ride sharing fleets, Ford has bought into or invested in a number of startups concentrating on 3D mapping, LIDAR, radar, and camera sensors. These include Velodyne, SAIPs, Nirenberg Neuroscience, and Civil Maps.

Ford is also expanding its presence in Silicon Valley with an expanded R&D center in Palo Alto covering 150,000 square feet.