Ford To Begin Testing Latest Self-Driving Vehicle Tech In 2018, Still Planning 1st Commercial Production In 2021

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Ford will begin testing the latest iteration of its self-driving vehicle tech in at least one city in the US in 2018, but the company has not accelerated its plan for the first commercial production of such vehicles to begin around 2021, company reps have revealed.

The Ford self-driving vehicle prototypes will apparently be trialled with the aid of various partners — such as the on-demand taxi service Lyft and the delivery pizza chain Domino’s Pizza.

The company, as a reminder, has apparently made no long-term decisions as of yet whether or not it will pursue the development of its own on-demand transportation service or whether it will seek to partner.

“In a blog post, Jim Farley, president of global markets, said Ford also would test new business models that involve its self-driving vehicles, including the movement of people and goods,” Reuters reports.

“Ford is shifting production of a future battery electric vehicle to Mexico to free up capacity at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to build the self-driving vehicles in 2021, according to spokesman Alan Hall. The electric vehicle, whose more-advanced battery system will enable a driving range of more than 300 miles, will go into production in 2020 at Ford’s Cuatitlan plant, which suppliers say will also build a new hybrid crossover vehicle around the same time.”

It’s worth noting here that both the self-driving vehicle slated for release in 2021 and the electric vehicle slated to enter production in 2020 will utilize some of the same components and underbody structure of the next-gen Ford Focus — as a means of keeping costs down. The self-driving vehicle will reportedly utilize an electric drivetrain but will be a hybrid based around a gas/petrol engine.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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