Mark Fields, chief executive officer at Ford, stated that seeing autonomous cars on American roads four years from now is realistic.
He also pointed out that wherever an HD roadmap exists, it should be no trouble for Ford autonomous cars to circulate on it. The legal and regulatory issues that come with that menu will be resolved when the technology is ready, Fields affirmed.
Ford is not the first auto manufacturer that acknowledges that self-driving cars are the future. Google estimated that mass production of autonomous cars will begin in five years. However, the search engine company made no mention of how will it play its cards in this field.
"I describe our strategy as having one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow," Fields noted, as cited by Re/code.
The CEO talked about the different divisions of the auto manufacturer. A part of Ford focuses on selling trucks, SUVs and sedans, while the other drafts the future of transportation systems and seeks to take accelerated steps into the future.
"We are becoming a mobility company and an auto company," he underlined.
Ford, which ranks first in car-selling charts across the United States, wants to be a flagship of innovation, just as it used to be 100 years ago.
In order to become just that, Ford began to test autonomous technologies 10 years ago, and now it is time to step up its game. The company started testing self-driving cars at Mcity, a 32-acre test site belonging to the University of Michigan.
Mcity can simulate various traffic situations, as it has crosswalks, street lights, lane delineators and even construction barriers. The company tested its Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle by sending it across different surfaces, such as concrete, asphalt, or brick, and through many types of situations, such as ramps and tunnels.
By testing its models in such a complex faux urban environment, Ford makes sure that safety comes first.
Ford ups the ante in the mobile app area, too. That is why it extended the Ford Sync entertainment system, thus allowing drivers to locate their cars or even start (some of) them remotely from their smartphones.
Fields expressed his company's willingness to cooperate with Silicon Valley comppanies to make self-driving cars a reality sooner rather than later. The CEO further said that both Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay will come to some vehicles, but declined going into specifics.
"As you can imagine, we are working on it," Fields vaguely concluded.