Ford: Who is going to make the first autonomous car?

Forbes Global 2000 Ranking: 64

Autonomy: Level 4

“At an Apple-like pace, Ford keeps investing money in key areas.”

August 2016: Ford was the first company to announce its target date, 2021, to launch its mass-produced fully autonomous cars. Mark Fields, the former Ford CEO, said “Our goal is not only be an auto company but an auto and mobility company.” and his statement echoed in press as an ambition to make Ford a technology company rather than a simply car manufacturer.

In the same year, Ford aggressively acquired several self-driving technology and artificial intelligence startups, like California based ride-sharing startup Chariot or Israeli machine learning company SAIPS.

One of the biggest investments in autonomous driving tech market happened in February 2017 and Ford invested £1 billion in Argo AI, a Pittsburgh based artificial intelligence and self-driving tech company. It acquired the majority ownership of the AI company with this investment.

At an Apple-like pace, Ford kept investing money in key areas: Princeton Lightwave for lidar technology and Autonomic for mobility software platform.

Ford has a swarm of self-driving test cars roaming around California, Michigan and Arizona: 90 autonomous Fusion sedans. Its plan is to expand autonomous vehicle tests to Germany and United Kingdom.

Finally, Ford decided to invest in on-demand transportation services provider Lyft, in September 2017. Ups. Hold on. GM invested $500 million in Lyft as well? Yes. In fact, neither GM nor Ford had no options other than investing in Lyft to reach an established customer network because Uber (the founder of ride-hailing concept) is a competitor in self-driving technology and is trying to make its own autonomous taxis.

Verdict

After setting a solid date for the launch, Ford escalated the competition in autonomous car market. It invested an enormous amount of money in key areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning or graphic processing. Moreover, it is one of the oldest car companies in the world, which simply means a mind-blowing car-making know-how. If we put all these facts together, here is my conclusion: Ford is serious. And it is very likely to see a blue oval on the first Level 4 AV.
Read also:

Forbes Global 2000: Who is going to make first autonomous car?

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