Auto-manufacturer Ford is planning to release fully autonomous cars within the next five years, with a view to creating a ride-sharing service similar to Uber or Lyft that utilises self-driving cars.
The planned vehicles will have no brake or accelerator pedals, and no steering wheel, with passengers simply entering their destination and allowing the car's intelligent mapping systems to do the rest.
Ford has yet to release concepts for any of its planned self-driving cars, and hasn't even confirmed if the vehicles will be based on existing models, outfitted with autonomous software, or if they will be entirely new designs.
"We are viewing this just like the core business of selling cars," said Ken Washington, vice president of research and advanced engineering, in a statement to The Verge. "We stand behind our product. We envision a future ride service having vehicles in it that we engineer and service, and provide a service to our customers."
Food has invested in a number of firms who could help make this idea a reality over the past few years, including Civil Maps, which transforms LiDAR data (collected using lasers) into maps, and acquisition SAIPS, which makes computer vision and machine learning software.
The company also has plans to expand its research and innovation centre in Silicon Valley, doubling the size of its team there by the end of 2017.
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