Ford to begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads

Ford has secured permission to test its autonomous vehicles in California. CEO Mark Fields commemorates the occasion by placing the license plate on an autonomous Fusion Hybrid.

Palo Alto, California — December 16, 2015 — Another contender has stepped into the autonomous vehicle ring. Ford has announced it has secured permission to begin testing fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid on public roads next year.

Ford is officially enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. According to a statement from the company, the testing is further advancement of Ford’s 10-year autonomous vehicle development program and a key element of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.

Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto is one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centres in the region, with a team of more than 100 researchers, engineers and scientists.

The new research lab opened in January, expanding Ford’s presence in Silicon Valley, which dates back to 2012. Eighty percent of the Palo Alto team joined Ford from the technology sector. The remaining 20 percent are Ford employees from the United States, China, Germany and Australia who bring automotive engineering and design expertise.

“Our Palo Alto team has grown significantly this year, using research and innovation to explore and develop future mobility solutions,” says Mark Fields, Ford President and CEO. “We’re attracting top talent from around the world to join our team in Silicon Valley, including employees from local technology companies and universities who want to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.”

Ford has also announced it is further expanding its strategic research collaboration with Stanford University in 2016, planning 13 projects covering all five areas of Ford Smart Mobility. This is more than double the number of collaborations this year.

“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,” says Ken Washington, Ford VP, Research and Advanced Engineering.


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