In Depth

Ford invests $1bn into driverless technology

Car giant teams up with Google and Uber-founded Argo AI to create level 4 self-driving car by 2021

170214ford.jpg

Ford has invested $1bn (£801m) into start-up company Argo AI as part of its push towards a broader electric and autonomous fleet. 

Robotics engineers from the Google and Uber-founded company will partner Ford's software teams to develop driverless systems for a vehicle scheduled for release in 2021. 

The collaboration is expected to deliver level 4 autonomy, which means the car only requires a minimal amount of input from the driver. 

Ford president Mark Fields said: "The next decade will be defined by the automation of the automobile and autonomous vehicles will have as significant an impact on society as Ford's moving assembly line did 100 years ago."

Under the deal, Argo AI will be able to licence its technology to other companies, meaning its systems could be used by other car manufacturers. 

Ford pledged last year to strengthen its electric and autonomous fleet over the next five years. 

In January, it revealed it had invested $4.5bn (£3.7bn) into electric cars and will take on the likes of Volkswagen's Moia ride-hailing service with a new autonomous vehicle.

While Ford is focusing its efforts on electric vehicles, it still plans on offering its V8-engine Mustang with a hybrid system to improve performance. The firm says sales will begin in North America in the next three years. 

Ford announce hybrid Mustang in $4.5bn electric push

4 January 

Ford has announced plans to launch a range of hybrid vehicles by 2020, including an electrified Mustang and an all-electric small SUV. 

The Mustang will be powered by V8 engine and "deliver more low-end torque" over the existing model, says the company. There's no mention on prices or performance figures, but sales will begin in North America in three years, when the SUV will also join the line-up. 

The small electric vehicle will have an estimated range of "around 300 miles" and be sold in Asia, Europe and North America, placing it in similar territory to the Tesla Model X and the yet-to-be-released Jaguar I-Pace.

A "high-volume" autonomous vehicle is also being planned as part of Ford's $4.5bn (£3.7bn) investment into EVs and will take on the likes of Volkswagen's new Moia service by offering ride-hailing and ride-sharing in major cities. 

It will be based on the Ford Fusion, which is sold under the Mondeo name in Europe, but "[will] not have a steering wheel or pedals", Autocar reports

In addition, there are plans for two hybrid police cars, along with an electrified version of the F-150 pick-up that can operate as a power generator when stationary. However, it is currently exclusive to North American and Middle Eastern markets and will unlikely make its way to Europe.

After announcing plans to cancel a $1.7bn (£1.4bn) manufacturing plan in Mexico, Ford will instead open a $700m (£570m) expansion to its Michigan plant, which is expected to generate around 700 jobs.

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