Ford autonomous vehicle technology to be tested next year

Ford autonomous vehicle

Ford autonomous vehicle testing will involve partners, including Domino’s Pizza and Lyft. Ford/Domino’s photo.

Ford autonomous vehicle testing in at least one city

Ford autonomous vehicle testing will begin next year in at least one city, but the automaker says it will not begin commercial production until 2021.

Reuters reports Ford will test self-driving prototypes in a number of pilot programs with partners, including Domino’s Pizza and Lyft.  Ford’s rival, General Motors, owns a minority stake in Lyft, a ride services company.

Ford has not decided if it will operate its own on-demand transportation service.

Jim Farley, president of global markets, says Ford will test new business models that include autonomous vehicles for the transportation of people and goods.

Last week, GM unveiled plans to introduce its own ride-sharing service in a number of cities in the US in 2019.  The service will use self-driving versions of the battery operated Chevy Bolt.

Alan Hall, spokesman for the company, says the Ford autonomous vehicle will be a hybrid system that uses a gasoline engine and an electric motor.

The Ford autonomous vehicles will be produced at the company’s Flat Rock, Michigan plant beginning in 2021. Ford says it will invest $900 million in the plant and add 850 jobs.

Ford will shift production of a future battery EV from the Flat Rock plant to the company’s Cuatitlan plant in Mexico, according to Hall.

The electric vehicle, equipped with a more-advanced battery system, has a driving range of over 300 miles.  At the same time, Ford will also build a new hybrid crossover vehicle.

The 2020 EV and 2021 Ford self-driving vehicles will draw on the next generation Ford Focus for some of their underbody structure and components, but use different propulsion systems.

 

 

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