Ford's Self-Driving Cars Coming To California Roads In 2016

Dec 16, 2015 02:07 PM EST | John Nassivera

Ford is showing its commitment to the smart tech game, announcing Wednesday that it will begin testing its self-driving cars in California.

The Detroit, Mich.-based automaker said in a release that it has enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program, and that the tests will take place on public roads and begin with the fully-autonomous Fusion Hybrid sedans, according to AFP. The company plans on having its autonomous fleet on public streets sometime in 2016.

The researchers behind Ford's self-driving technology work universities to give cars the ability to "see" everyone and everything around them so that the person inside can travel safely. These researchers are currently building the company's research center in the Silicon Valley in Palo Alto that will go towards producing these vehicles.

"Our Palo Alto team has grown significantly this year, using research and innovation to explore and develop future mobility solutions," Ford chief executive Mark Fields said.

The upcoming tests are part of Ford's "Smart Mobility" plan, which aims at giving the automaker a big role in fields such as connectivity, mobility and autonomous technology, Quartz reported.

Ford plans on making self-driving cars available in the mass market in four years, and Fields predicted earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that these cars would be on U.S. roads by 2020.

One of the ways in which Ford plans to push for autonomous technology by expanding its strategic research partnership with Stanford University in 2016 and doubling the number of their projects to 13, Fortune noted.

Ford will be the latest company to start testing self-driving cars in California, with others including Volkswagen, Tesla, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, BMW, Honda and Google.

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