To speed up the development of self-driving systems, Ford said it was committed to triple the investment for its autonomous project in the next years.
At the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ford has revealed the refreshed Kuga compact and it announced it would bring some new connectivity technologies to Europe this year. The Blue Oval also talked about the company’s plans around the self-driving technologies. Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said at the event that the company would triple engineering investment in driver assist technology, speeding the roll-out of semi automated systems that make it easier to park and drive in heavy traffic, while developing fully autonomous vehicles for the future. The CEO did not specify a figure for the planned investment, but he said that Ford would stay true to its believes and “when the first Ford autonomous vehicle comes out, it will be an autonomous vehicle designed to serve millions of customers, not just for those who buy luxury vehicles.”
Ford is already testing its fully self-driving cars in winter conditions, including snow, and it has also recently announced plans to triple the company’s autonomous fleet, making it the largest of all automakers. As for the future, Ford also has a dedicated fully autonomous vehicle programmer in Aachen, Germany, and in Palo Alto, California, and Dearborn, Michigan, in the US, with more than a decade of experience. And all these efforts are for bringing the first smart vehicles to market by the end of the decade. “Within well-defined areas and with favourable environmental conditions, we predict that fully autonomous driving will be possible within four years,” Ken Washington, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said.