Ford Motor Company has targeted the middle of next decade – around 2025 – as the time when it will start selling self-driving cars to private consumers.
CEO Mark Fields revealed the target in a speech on Monday, according to Bloomberg, stating that Ford is “dedicated to putting autonomous vehicles on the road for millions of people, not just those who can afford luxury cars.” The first step will be introducing a volume-production self-driving car for ride-hailing and ride-sharing fleets sometime in 2021, which the automaker hopes will help lower costs to make the tech accessible to a broad consumer base.
At the moment, several competitors look poised to beat Ford’s first self-driving car to the punch; as Bloomberg reports, a new, autonomous taxi service was unveiled in Singapore in August, and Uber users will soon be able to order the first self-driving Volvo SUVs. But Ford seems unperturbed by such developments, with Mr. Fields telling reporters: “We’ve been at this, guys, for over 10 years now, don’t confuse activity with progress.”
He continued: “Being in the forefront is important. We may not be first, but when we do come out with it, we want to make sure that it’s accessible to millions.”