Ford Motor Company is set to begin autonomous vehicle testing in the state of California next year, having been granted a permit by the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program. The automaker is simultaneously conducting autonomous vehicle tests within a simulated city on the University of Michigan campus thousands of miles away.
Of course, the step up from simulation to real world is a meaningful one, and Ford’s impending autonomous vehicle testing on California’s public roads are a clear indication that the automaker isn’t far off the pace of rivals like fellow manufacturer Audi, or tech giant Google. Ford’s decision to pursue testing in the state undoubtedly has something to do with the location of its Palo Alto “Research and Innovation Center.” The facility opened in January of this year, and employs more than 100 scientists, researchers, and engineers.
Some 80 percent of those come from the technology sector, with no previous employment with Ford Motor Company.
Says Ford VP of Research and Advanced Engineering Ken Washington: “Having a strong presence in Silicon Valley allows us to further accelerate our research on a wide range of technologies, and apply our insights to create real-world mobility solutions.”