MORE THAN A century after introducing the Model T, Ford hopes to once again change how the masses move. The company announced this morning that it will have thousands of fully autonomous vehicles in urban car-sharing and ride-hailing fleets by 2021. To achieve that goal, the company will double, to 300, the number of people at its Silicon Valley research center and add 60 autonomous vehicles to the fleet of 30 already deployed there.
The five-year timeline isn’t terribly aggressive. Google, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz see autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020, and Chinese tech giant Baidu says it will have the technology in 2019. But none of them has made promises as specific as those Ford made today.