Sun, 18 Nov 2018

Ford Motor to begin testing self-driving vehicle technology

By Sheetal Sukhija, The Nashville News
08 Dec 2017, 04:53 GMT+10

DETROIT, U.S. - Ford Motor has said that starting 2018, it will begin testing its latest self-driving vehicle technology in at least one city.

The automaker however said that it has not changed its plan to begin commercial production until 2021.

On Thursday, Ford said that it would test self-driving prototypes in various pilot programs with partners such as Lyft, the ride services company in which rival General Motors owns a minority stake, and Domino’s Pizza Inc.

However, Ford said that it had not decided whether to operate its own on-demand transportation service.

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.

Last week, GM unveiled plans to introduce its own on-demand ride-sharing service in several U.S. cities in 2019, using self-driving versions of the battery-powered Chevrolet Bolt.

Now, Ford has said that it is shifting production of a future battery electric vehicle to Mexico to free up capacity at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant.

According to spokesman Alan Hall, it is at this plant that the company will build the self-driving vehicles in 2021.

Ford has said that 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.

Suppliers have said that it will also build a new hybrid crossover vehicle around the same time.

At the Flat Rock plant, Ford is boosting investment to $900 million from $700 million and adding 850 jobs.

Hall said that the self-driving vehicle from Flat Rock will use a hybrid system with a gasoline engine and an electric motor.

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