Ford introducing the Autonomous car without Steering Wheel & Pedal by 2021

Ford plans to build a fully autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel or pedals by 2021, the company announced today. The vehicle will be aimed at ride-hailing and ride-sharing fleets.

Ford is working with a number of startups, including a new investment in Velodyne, a firm that makes LIDAR sensors; the acquisition of SAIPS, an Israeli company that makes computer vision and machine learning software; an exclusive licensing agreement with "virtual retina" technology company Nirenberg Neuroscience, LLC; and apreviously announced investment in 3D-mapping company Civil Maps.

The company is also expanding its research and innovation center in Palo Alto and plans to double the size of its team there by the end of next year.

To make the self-driving car happen, Ford will double its R&D presence in Silicon Valley and is making acquisitions to fill in the technology gaps Ford isn’t developing.What Ford is announced is both breathtaking and limited. It’s the first automaker to peg a specific year — 2021 — for an autonomous car. It won’t have driver controls as a fallback, so it has to work autonomously. But the full automation may be limited to urban streets at speeds no more than 25-30 mph in its role as a driverless Uber- or Lyft-style transporter.

Ford executives said the company wasn’t at the stage where it could show a vehicle, or even talk about what that vehicle might look like. Instead, it’s focused on getting the hardware and software ready for a driver less car.


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