Oct 24, 2021 Last Updated 04:18 AM EDT

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Ford upbeat on self-driving cars, to invest $4.5 billion

Jan 07, 2016 05:03 AM EST

Banking on the growing number of middle class population, Ford is optimistic of success from its latest program on self-driving cars. Ford Motor Co has been working on hi-tech self-driving cars for over a decade. Without mentioning about Google, Ford elaborated its plans on developing driverless cars. Ford is investing $4.5 billion in developing new electric vehicles.

Mark Fields, President and CEO at Ford, was participating in the opening press conference at CES 2016. While listing the partners involved in the Ford's autonomous car program, Fields didn't mention Google. According to the rumors spread in the automobile industry, Ford and Google were working together on developing self-driving vehicles.

According to a report by BBC, Ford displayed its new model Faraday Future or FF at the ongoing The Consumer Electronics Show popularly known as CES-2016 in Las Vegas. Ford claims that it reinvented the entire car production process for this new model. Many were expecting a big deal of news related to partnership with Google as Ford is expected to equip vehicles with search engine's software. 

Mark Fields says that Ford Motor will focus on the $5.4 trillion transportation services segment. "Ford will completely rethink how we approach the business. The $5.4 trillion transportation services category includes ride sharing and nontraditional forms of car usage and ownership," said Fields.

The rise in number of middle Class is resulting in drastic change in consumer preferences. The middle class population is expected to be double by 2030, said Fields. Ford will invest in core business manufacturing cars and trucks in addition to $4.5 billion in 3 new electric vehicles by 2020, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Raj Nair, Chief Technology Officer at Ford, said that the automobile major was tripling its autonomous test fleet to 30 vehicles. Ford will use Mcity, the University of Michigan's proving ground for driverless vehicles. 
The SAE Level-3 is where it requires driver intervention, but with advanced driver assist technologies. SAE Level-4 is where driver is out of the loop except highway driving or in smart cities. SAE Level-5 vehicles are fully autonomous anywhere and anytime.

According to Popular Science, Ford's autonomous cars would be affordable rather than carrying luxury-level price tags, when they're ready for the market. The driverless vehicles' competency is determined at three levels. 

Ford accounts for six percent of global traditional automobile market. However, it doesn't have presence in the growing transportation services segment. Fields sees a huge opportunity in this segment. 
Contrary to the expectations, Ford's President Mark Fields didn't mention anything about Google. Ford is developing its own car operating system called as SyncConnect. One can use SyncConnect as it supports Android Auto and CarPlay. 

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