Detroit’s auto giants take oppose to big tech as largest US car display kicks into gear

The North American International Auto show has been overshadowed by CES but its decided to stick to what it does best: autoes and trucks , not hi-tech

A man who helped design an ingenious car feature reads a letter from a guy it saved.

No one likes to imagine what would happen if they were in a serious car accident.

Chances are thatmost of us will get into some sort ofcollisionat some point, whether minor or more serious. Estimates from the car insurance industry say collisionshappen to most longtime driversthree to four timesduring their driving lifetimes.

Fortunately for us, there are peoplelike David Hattonwhohave devoted their career todeveloping technology to provide drivers peace of mind.

David and his team at Ford have created a feature called SYNC911 Assistto change how car accidents are communicated to and handled by authorities for good.

With the 911 Assist feature, you don’t have to call 911 in the event of a collision. Instead, your car calls for you.

Imagine you’re driving to meet an old high school friend for dinner.Another driverruns a red light and plows into you, and your airbags deploy. You are scared, disoriented, maybe even injured and the only way to get help is to hope someone saw the accident and will call911or to find your phone and call for help yourself.

With SYNC911 Assist, instead of having to find a phone to dial 911 for help, the information about your collision is instantly delivered through your car’s Bluetoothsystem: where you’re located, what part of your car was affected, even how many seat belts were in use. It’ll connect you directly to a 911 operator no effort on your end required.

If your Bluetooth is turned off, SYNC can turn it on.If your “Do Not Disturb” setting is onand your phoneis offline,it will look for any previously paired phone that was connected to the system. Ford engineers looked at scenarios that could go wrong and engineered SYNC 911 Assist to make them go right.

It’s making a huge impact.

Since SYNC 911 Assist launched, Hatton has been receiving letters from people thanking him for hiswork letters such as this one, from a gentleman in Texas:

“I live in rural, central Texas with beautiful country, rolling fields and low water crossings.

Icannot remember the events of the accident that nearly killed me. After an impact to my head the next thing Iremembered was waking up in an Austin hospital. I was told my car was upside down in a river and filling upwith water when I was pulled out. If Synchad not dialed 911 I would certainly have perished at the bottom ofthat river.”

Your vehicle directly contacting 911 is a new standard in road safety one that makes a lot of sense.

Before this system was developed, a 911 call would be directed through a call center before actually reaching a 911 operator. Anyone who has been in an emergency situation knows that can taketime time that, in some cases, can make all the difference.

Getting in a car wreck is an unexpected and scary experience. Anything thatcan get help where it’s needed faster is a huge step in the right direction.

SYNC 911 Assist is an inspiring example of how passionate people and companies can create technology that makes our lives better.

Read more: www.upworthy.com

Ford Says Itll Have a Fleet of Fully Autonomous Cars in Just 5 Years

More than a century after introducing the Model T, Ford hopes to once again change how the masses move.

The company announced this morning that it will have thousands of fully autonomous vehicles in urban car-sharing and ride-hailing fleetsby 2021. To achieve that goal, the company will double, to 300, the number of people at its Silicon Valley research center and add60 autonomous vehicles to the fleet of 30 already deployed there.

The five-year timeline isn’t terribly aggressive.Google, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz see autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020, and Chinese tech giant Baidu says it will have the technology in 2019. But none of them has made promisesas specific as those Fields made today. “We see the upcoming decade for the automobile really centered around the automation of the automobile,” CEO Mark Fields says.

Many automakers already offer limited automationin vehicles like the Tesla Model S and Model X (which have had trouble), and the Mercedes E-Class (that one’s a bit confusing). But Ford, like Google, wants nothing less than full autonomy, a designationthe Society of American Engineers calls “Level 4.” Fields says the fleet in Silicon Valley won’t even have steering wheels or pedals.

Fordseems to have most of the pieces needed to do that. In July, it invested in Civil Maps, a Berkeley, California, startup that makes the software needed to turnLiDAR data into mapsrobo-cars can read and automakers can update. The automakerjust invested heavilyin LiDAR manufacturer Velodyne, a bid to cut make the technology far more affordable—the spinning bucket atop each Google car costs about$85,000. Anditsigned an exclusive licensing deal with Nirenberg Neuroscience touse thatcompany’s machine vision and deep learning tech. Israeli startup Saips will provide further help there with technology that helps robo-cars identify pedestrians, garbage cans and the like.

The big question is who will run the fleet. GM has signed on withwith Lyft, while Uber is doing its own research, and Apple—which won’t confirm it’s developing a car—invested$1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing service Didi. Ford doesn’t have a dance partner, but, Fields says, “We have lots of options, and we talk with everyone.”

Field’s won’t say what the car might look likeor where you’ll see them beyond “dense urban areas.” But the commitment underscores how serious Ford is about autonomy.“It fits very nicely with who we are as a company,” he says. “Autonomous vehicles could potentially have the same impact on society that Henry Ford’s moving assembly line had.” The company that made the Model T ubiquitous wants to do the same with autonomous tech.

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Tesla charges ahead to overtake Ford in market value

Elon Musks electric car company has been valued at $49 bn, leaving the 100 -year-old motor manufacturer lagging behind

One is an automotive titan that has built more than 350 m vehicles in an illustrious history spanning more than a century.

The other is less than 15 years old and has never made a profit.

And yet a 7% upsurge in the value of shares in electric car firm Tesla on Monday saw it zoom ahead of Ford Motor Company, in terms of its stock market value.

As Wall Street closed for the working day, Tesla, led by 45 -year-old tycoon and futurist Elon Musk, was worth $49 bn( 38 bn ), compared with a paltry $46 bn for the empire built by Henry Ford.

This astonishing overtaking manoeuvre says as much about the nature of stock markets as it does about these two very different carmakers.

The old cliche among stock market investors is that you should buy on the gossip, sell on the fact the idea that investment is more about what you expect to happen in the future than the current state of play.

And Tesla, investors believe, is the standard-bearer of a battery-powered future while Ford is the archetypal mass-production legacy auto business.

Based in the Californian tech hub of Palo Alto, Tesla delivered 76,230 cars last year a fraction of Fords 6.65 m.

It induced sales of$ 7bn but a loss of $746 m, while Ford recorded a $10.4 bn earning after racking up sale of $152 bn.

But fresh figures published the coming week, which incorporates the most recent three months, demonstrated 70% growth in marketings at Tesla, with 25,000 electric vehicles rolling noiselessly into the garages of their new owners.

Tesla share cost

That sort of growth rate is what sent investors piling into Tesla shares, expecting a continued global push for greener cars to be the catalyst for converting notional value into concrete returns.

And if Musk is to to be believed, Tesla wont be slowing down any time soon.

The firms production targets are unprecedented in the automotive industry. Tesla has defined a goal of constructing 500,000 vehicles in 2018 and Musk has even created the prospect of doubling that to 1m by 2020.

Despite the setback of a fatal crash last year, when a Tesla on autopilot failed to tell the difference between the side of a white lorry and a bright sky, the company continues to attain strides towards a fully driverless automobile.

Its new Model 3, slated for production this year, is intended to offer a more affordable version of previous models, with a price tag around $35,000.

If successful and it is being seen as a litmus test of the prospects for electric cars the Model 3 could supercharge Teslas growth by muscling in on the territory of mass marketplace rivals.

The firm also has a potentially lucrative sideline in storage batteries for the home. The Powerwall is intended to allow homes to store solar power, and Tesla is also due to start installing its first solar roof tiles this year.

Tesla may be on a charge, but Ford is in particularly bad shape. It remains in the worlds top 10 automobile firms and is also among the US Big Three alongside General Motor and Chrysler. But while Teslas sales are soaring, the 6.65 m vehicles that Ford sold last year were just 16,000 up on 2015 sales. In the most recent quarterly update from Ford, marketings actually fell.

The company that helped to build Detroit, often known as Motor City, sold 1.7 m automobiles in the one-quarter, about 68,000 fewer than in the same period the previous year.

Musk was in the mood to gloat about Teslas comparatively rapid growth story.

Stormy weather in Shortville, he tweeted, a reference to traders who had been burned by shorting Tesla betting its results would disillusion and its shares would fall.

Elon Musk (@ elonmusk)

Stormy weather in Shortville …

April 3, 2017

He dedicated short shrift to sceptical commentators, too.

Veteran technology journalist Walt Mossberg , now executive editor of media network The Verge, said on Twitter: I admire Tesla and @elonmusk, he said, but this is the billionth instance of why stock market valuations dont reflect reality.

That, replied Musk, is precisely the phase. He tweeted: Precisely. Tesla is absurdly overvalued if based on the past, but thats irrelevant.A stock cost represents risk-adjusted future cash flows.

Elon Musk (@ elonmusk)

@ForIn2020 @waltmossberg @mims @defcon_5 Exactly. Tesla is absurdly overvalued if based on the past, but that’s irrelevant. A stock cost represents risk-adjusted future cash flows.

April 3, 2017

Michelle Krebs, a Detroit-based senior analyst with Autotrader, sounded a rare note of caution. Investors are betting on the future, which they think is promising and theyre looking at the stock to make big gains, she said.

But there will come a day that Tesla has to make money and the Model 3 is a test of that. It will attain or violate whether Tesla can be a volume manufacturer that appeals to a wide swath of consumers and whether it can be profitable or not.

One of the big hazards that Tesla will face is increased competition. Everyone from General Motors with the Chevrolet Bolt to BMW and Mercedes are being aggressive on electric cars. They will face increasing competition as established players and upstarts come into the market.

But South-African born Musk doesnt genuinely do caution. He bought into Tesla at an early stage after building his fortune through the development of tech industries including PayPal, which constructed him $165 m when it was sold to eBay for $1.5 bn.

He has since amassed a fortune of $14 bn, as well as a reputation for seemingly fantastical visions of the future. The founder of private space exploration company SpaceX, he has pledged to slash the costs of space travel to help the human race survive by colonising Mars and other planets.

Either we spread Earth to other planets, or we risk going extinct, he told a conference in 2013. An extinction event is inevitable and become increasingly doing ourselves in, he said.

Last week, the company became the first to launch a partially recycled rocket into space, in what Musk termed a milestone in the history of space.

He also conceived the Hyperloop, a transport system he tells could whizz people between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 minutes at speeds of up to 700 mph( 1,126 km/ h ).

Bold ambition and market-pleasing bombast have become the currency of a man with a knack for marrying technology and glamour, producing global exhilaration among his legions of fans and admirers.

The fact that Tesla should be valued more highly than Henry Fords century-spanning mom of all carmakers suggests that Musks zealous adherents are not the only ones who believe the hype.

Tesla, new automobile on the block

Market value $48.6 bn

Annual vehicle production 76,000

Annual revenues $ 7bn

Annual pretax loss $ 746 m

Founded by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning in 2003; Musk was a lead investor in 2004 and became chairman of the board. He is now chief product architect and chief executive

Based in Palo Alto, California

Product Electric vehicles. Roadster in 2008. Model S( luxury sedan ), Model X( SUV ), Model 3( to be launched this year ); solar panel( launch schemed this year)

Floated on the stock market in 2010

Employees 30,000

Ford, venerable vehicle maker

Market value $45 bn

Annual automobile production 6.6 m

Annual revenues $ 152 bn

Annual pretax gain $10.4 bn

Founded by Henry Ford in 1903

Based in Detroit, Michigan

Products Model T in 1908; F-Series trucks, Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo, Escape, Explorer, Expedition, Lincoln luxury vehicles

Floated on the stock market in 1956

Employees 201,000

Julia Kollewe

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Ford’s 2018 Mustang GT can do 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds

Fords latest Mustang GT is the fastest ever in its new Drag Strip mode, it can do 0-to-60 mph in under four seconds, which is faster than a lot of expensive sports cars, including the Porsche 911. The Drag Strip mode setting optimizes torque, and transmission to achieve the new acceleration, and hits that sub-four second time when paired with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires on the car.

This new record is also achieved on the Mustangs new SelectShift 10-speed automatic transmission, which helps improve speeds because, according to Mustang chief engineer Carl Widmann, when you shift gears, you give up time.

  1. 2018 Mustang GT can go 0-60 in under 4 seconds with new 10-speed automat…

  2. Ford Mustang GT Drag Strip Mode in 12-inch Digital Cluster

Overall the car manages 460 horsepower and 420 lb.-fit of torque through its 5.0-liter V8 engine, which Ford redesigned from the ground up for this 2018 Mustang. Dag Strip Mode is just one of five modes available to the driver with the new model, each of which suits a different kind of driving scenario.

Building out options and pricing for the new Mustang is going live on Fords website starting tomorrow, and the car will be available in showrooms starting this fall.

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Bill Ford’s Vision for a World Beyond Cars

Bill Ford, Jr. loves cars. He’s the first in line for the new Ford GT, the wind-slicing wonder beast coming next year from the company his great-grandfather Henry founded in 1903, and which he ran as CEO from 2001 to 2006.

But when he looks at the way the world’s bound to change in the coming decades, he sees a need to move away from the core notion that made the Ford Motor Company one of the most successful enterprises in modern history: one person, one car. The global population is booming, especially in the developing world and in urban cities. It’s wrong to interpret that as a huge new customer base, Ford, now the company’s executive chairman, said in an interview with WIRED.

Gridlock’s already an issue in young, growing cities, and more personal cars just make things worse. At best, life gets less convenient, Ford says. At worst, you can’t deliver health care or even food—and it becomes a human rights issue. “Unless we figure out a very different urban transportation model, it’s not gonna work,” he says. “If you think we’re gonna shove two cars in every car in garage in Mumbai, you’re crazy.”

There’s no gloom and doom in Ford’s face as he prognosticates. There is excitement. He’s eager to talk about the “mobility experiments” the company’s running at its recently inaugurated Silicon Valley R&D operation. They include remote-controlled cars that use 4G networks, tech to help you find open parking spots, and a system to let you control your Nest thermostat from your dashboard.

‘I am very confident that we can compete and morph into something quite different.’

“By definition, most of them won’t work,” Ford says. But he does stress the importance of embracing failure—a core tenet of the Silicon Valley ethos—and convincing stockholders it isn’t a waste of money. “The bigger risk is doing nothing.”

The company’s historically successful strategy—vertical integration and producing affordable cars for individual customers—must change. Does that mean the automaker’s ready to move past the idea of the personal car? “Absolutely,” he says. At least in urban centers, to start.

Whether or not Ford’s ready to take part in this shift, others are stepping in. Some of the most exciting ideas in transportation are coming from startups like Uber and ZipCar. Google and Apple are charging into the industry. The advent of autonomous driving, the rise of the connected car, the coming age of vehicle to vehicle communication, all present the possibility of new business models. Ford embraces the admittedly nebulous term “mobility,” the necessity of being ready to try new things, to embrace change, to fail. He wants his company to be about moving people, in cars or however.

Ford hesitates to offer a concrete vision for the future of transportation, but predicts a world in which all modes of moving around are connected. He imagines you’ll tell your phone where you want to go, and whether you’re looking to move quickly or cheaply. It generates a single ticket that will take you through every step of the appropriate route, a combination of car, taxi, subway, bus, Segway, bicycle, whatever.

What he’s more worried about seeing the Ford Motor Company reduced to the role of hardware subcontractor for more innovative companies. Not that he’s pessimistic. “I am very confident that we can compete and morph into something quite different.”

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Ford Paves a Path From Big Automaker to Big Operating System

In its 114-year history, Ford has been many kinds of automaker. A manufacturing innovator, a hawker of Mustang muscle, a pickup powerhouse. Now the company that helped put a car (or two) in every garage wants to be something else altogether: an operating system.

"With the power of AI and the rise of autonomous and connected vehicles, for the first time in a century, we have mobility technology that won’t just incrementally improve the old system but can completely disrupt it," CEO Jim Hackett said in a keynote address at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, trumpeting the pivot. "A total redesign of the surface transportation system with humans and community at the center."

As Ford executives move to execute the plan, they unveiled yesterday a reorganization of the automaker's young mobility business, with two acquisitions to help it along. It's all in service of a new, very 21st century goal. Ford will put less effort into convincing people to plunk down their credit cards for personal cars (though that’s still important) and more into moving them from A to B, with a little Ford badge tacked onto whatever gets them there.

It's a turbulent time for traditional automakers, which have to keep making money today while aggressively prepping for the market changes—carshare, ridehailing, self-driving—that will happen tomorrow. Ford's news comes eight months after the company dismissed CEO Mark Fields in favor of Hackett, a former furniture exec who oversaw the formation of Ford's mobility subsidiary—and promised a greater vision for the future. Earlier this week, the Detroit automaker posted disappointing quarterly profits. Ford blamed rising metal prices while CFO Bob Shanks said, “We have to be far fitter than we are.”

In lean times, every expenditure merits extra scrutiny. And while Ford Mobility President Marcy Klevorn did not disclose how much it spent on its new companies, she says they're important steps on Ford's path to becoming more than a big ol' automaker. “We did an assessment of our strategy and what our gaps were and the speed we wanted to go,” she says. “We looked at where we thought we needed a really fast infusion of help.”

Still, it's all a little woolly. The thing about being a platform that connects the world is that others have to agree to come aboard. So while Ford tries to woo partners—other carmakers, mobility companies like Uber or Lyft, carsharing companies, bikesharing providers, entire cities—the carmaking continues. Make money now, prep for tomorrow.

OK, let's look at the details of this new arrangement for tomorrow. Acquisition A is Autonomic, a Palo Alto–based company with a cloud-based platform called … wait for it … the Transportation Mobility Cloud. Autonomic seeks to build a kind of iOS for cities, managing data and transactions between city-dwellers and agencies and companies that provide payment processing, route mapping, mass transit, and city infrastructure services. That sounds vague, because it is.

“By making all these different services available we have no idea what’s going to come so we’re super excited,” Autonomic CEO Sunny Madra told Fortune Thursday. Autonomic seeks to be the go-to platform for other car manufacturers, too, and Klevorn indicated Ford hopes to monetize its cloud service quickly. Somehow.

Acquisition B is TransLoc, a 14-year-old Durham, North Carolina–based company that makes software to help cities, corporate campuses, and universities manage their transportation systems, from traditional fixed-route service to on-demand ridehailing apps like Uber and Lyft. “Ford is interested in taking the streets back in the city, and getting more people out of single occupancy cars,” says CEO Doug Kaufman. “I think one of the reasons that we ended up with Ford and not some other suitor is because our missions are so aligned.” Ford's execs said they would lean on TransLoc’s existing sales relationships with hundreds of cities and transit agencies to accelerate its platform plan.

Meanwhile, the company is restructuring its Ford Mobility subsidiary. Autonomic is moving into a new accelerator section called Ford X. The Mobility Business Group will handle microtranist service Chariot, car services app FordPass, and digital services. Mobility Platforms and Products will cover autonomous vehicle partnerships and transportation as a service. And a new mobility marketing group will sell it all to the world. (Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle developer that Ford plunked $1 billion into last year, is still technically an independent company.)

It’s close to a throw-it-all-see-what-sticks move, but it does show Ford is charting a different path into this new world than its great rival. General Motors, which acquired startup Cruise Automation in 2016, is all about the autonomous and electric vehicle, with self-driving Chevy Bolts testing on roads in Phoenix and San Francisco. It’s even starting to think about making actual, honest-to-goodness driverless vehicles, this month showing off a design for a steering wheel– and pedal-free EV, and touting plans to get the thing on the road by 2019. The company's Maven service, which provides car rental and sharing in 11 American cities, could be a great, data-hoovering starting point for a delivery and ridesharing service. And GM employees in San Francisco are using Cruise Anywhere, an Uber-like platform, to catch rides in self-driving testing vehicles. But GM hasn't as overtly attempted to partner with cities yet, and its broader mobility strategy is hazy. Will GM provide transportation services and not just an excellent autonomous, electric car? Can any American automaker do that?

Ford has been pretty consistent about its admittedly hazy vision for the future of mobility. (At least, consistent with its messaging.) "The bigger risk is doing nothing," executive chairman Bill Ford told WIRED back in 2015, as he outlined a future where a single, digital ticket could buy you a ride on a car, taxi, subway, bus, or bicycle. "I am very confident that we can compete and morph into something quite different." Now it's time to deliver.


Pivot! Pivot!

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Plumber files$ 1 million lawsuit over truck that fell down ISIS hands

If you’re traveling down the highways of America with your business’ contact information proudly plastered across the side of your vehicle, you have to be on the lookout for prank phone calls and dummy email messages. And maybe something a little more nefarious, like the Islamic State acquiring your vehicle and then utilizing it for military operationswith your telephone number still displayed on the side of the truck.

That’s why, as reported by CNN, Mark Oberholtzer of Texas City, Texas, is suing the Houston car dealership where he traded in his Ford F-2 50 in 213 for$ 1 million: he subsequently detected it was being used by the jihadist group ISIS, and was routinely appearing in their social media images.

And how did Oberholtzer discover this flustering fact? The advertising decals for his plumbing business were never removed from the truck. And the photo in the tweet below was shared over and over again online( and was featured on the Colbert Report last year ), leading to plenty of threatening phone calls to Oberholtzer’s Mark-1 plumbing business.

Here’s the original tweet.

From CNN:

The photo ran viral, was picked up by news outlets and led to thousands of phone calls to Oberholtzer’s business and personal phones, according to the lawsuit.

Most of the bellows were harassing and threatened violence and included the “yelling( of) expletives at whomever answered the phone, ” the “singing in Arabic for the length of the phone call” and “threats of injury or death” made against Oberholtzer’s family and employees.

Oberholtzer had to temporarily shut down his business and leave town, according to the lawsuit, resulting in financial losses. He’s also had visits from Homeland Security and the FBI .

Even a year later, Oberholtzer, who carries a gun for his protection, said he still obtains harassing phone calls because of the ad on his old truck.

Oberholtzer had traded in the old truck to a Houston car dealership and received a 2012 Ford F-2 50 in return. Before he left, he began pulling off his Mark-1 business decals. But according to Oberholtzer’s lawsuit, a salesman stopped him, “says hes” would damage the paint. Oberholtzer said he was told the dealership would get rid of the decals.

The lawsuit further claims that the truck was sold in an auction in November 2013, and in December, it was shipped to Mersin, Turkey. From there, it somehow ended up in the hands of ISIS.

And while this is a terrible ad for Oberholtzer’s business, perhaps it’s not such a bad product placement for Ford.

H/ T BroBible | Caleb Weiss/ Twitter

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In 2021, this Ford won’t have a steering wheel or pedals

Ford Fusion Hybrid self-driving test vehicle .
Image: Ford Motor Company

If you thought Google’s steering wheel-less Prototype automobiles were a vision of a far-off future, you’re in for a astound. That’s because Ford Motor Company announced Tuesday that in the year 2021, it will have a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing available not just to luxury customers but to everyone.

What’s more, the vehicle won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals: it will be fully autonomous.

Ford’s fully autonomous car will fall under Level 4 autonomy on the Society of Automotive Engineers( SAE) international standard for automated driving. For comparison, Tesla’s Autopilot and Mercedes’ Drive Pilot are Level 2 autonomy.

Generally, Level 4 has been defined by an autonomous car’s ability to drive itself in some environments, like on freeway onramps or during low-speed traffic jams. Instead, Ford is defining Level 4 a bit differently for its yet-unnamed 2021 vehicle autonomous vehicle.

The fully autonomous Ford will be able to handle all driving duties in a predetermined area an area that’s already been mapped with high-definition 3D technology.

The Ford won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals

That means you won’t be allowed to hail a ride from one of these cars and run anywhere merely in the areas the Ford has been programmed to run. However, where it does take you, it’ll be able to handle anything the world can throw at it. Or, at least, it better. Because you can’t intervene in the driving at all.

This leads us to the second part of Ford’s announcement: its further investment in four companies championing technologies key to fully automated driving.

Ford announced earlier Tuesday that it has invested in Velodyne, a light detecting and ranging( LiDAR) sensor producer based in Silicon Valley. LiDAR has long been seen as a key component in a fully autonomous vehicle. Ford also acquired SAIPS, an Israeli company working with AI and deep computer learn, which, too, will help its automobiles handle any situation they may encounter.

An exclusive licensing agreement has also been announced between Ford and Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC, which will help Ford’s autonomous cars identify objects on the road. Lastly, Ford has invested in Civil Maps, a Berkeley-based company pioneering 3D mapping tech the tech that will be the key to the vehicle’s Level 4 independence rating.

Ford Fusion Hybrid self-driving test vehicle.

Image: Ford Motor Company

Although five years seems far off, for Ford, it’s a blink of an eye. That’s OK because the carmaker has been working on autonomous driving for more than 10 years and it has a lot more to accomplish in the next five.

By the end of this year, for example, Ford will have the largest autonomous test vehicle fleet of any automaker. In fact, it will have around 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.

In conjunction with that expansion of its autonomous driving fleet and its tech investments, Ford is also doubling the size of its Palo Alto campus.

Of course, since the promised vehicle is five years off, Ford has not chose what platform the fully autonomous auto will ride on. Nor has it determined whether it will be a sedan, hatchback or SUV. Moreover, Ford isn’t sure whether its fully autonomous vehicle is likely to be powered by a gasoline, hybrid or fully electric powertrain.

Intriguingly, those aren’t the only unknowns with this project. Ford isn’t sure how it will offer the ride-sharing vehicle to customers, be it through the FordPass app or with another ride-sharing platform. Clearly, there’s a lot of details to be worked out in the next half decade.

While the fully autonomous Ford will start off as a ride-share-only vehicle, as the costs of the technology comes down, it’s plausible that you might be able to buy one for yourself. The tech begs the issues to, though: Would you even require or want to own a self-driving automobile?

No matter, though, in just five years, you’ll probably be able to hail a ride in one whether you own it or not.

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