Move over Elon Musk, there’s going to be more self-driving competition.
On Tuesday, Ford announced that it will have autonomous vehicles hitting the roads by 2021, and it wants to put them in the hands of ride-hailing apps.
To do so, Ford is investing in four startup groups that specialize in making cars go without the help of a human.
The move comes just a few weeks after Tesla’s Elon Musk announced his second master plan, in which he proposed self-driving cars that can be used as people-movers.
Similar to Musk’s idea, Ford wants to use apps – like Uber and Lyft – to pick you up and take you to your location without a driver.
Ford says the autonomous operation will be for “commercial mobility services,” meaning consumers probably won’t be able to get their own car just yet. This differs from Musk’s plan, which would allow Tesla owners to buy autonomous cars and rent them to other people.
Unlike Tesla’s autonomous vehicles, Ford’s cars won’t have steering wheels or gas and brake pedals.
In the announcement on Tuesday, Ford said it will partner with four companies to get the ball rolling: Velodyne, which focuses on LiDAR sensors; SAIPS, which specializes in artificial intelligence; Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC, which focuses on machine vision; and Civil Maps, which does high-resolution 3-D mapping.
As a part of the move, Ford is also planning on growing its operation in Palo Alto, creating a campus and doubling the size of its team by 2017.