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Ford to build self-driving taxis to compete with Uber

Compact Cars, Bridgend

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Car giant Ford is set to build a massive fleet of autonomous taxis that by 2021 will be driving around cities and threaten to quell the presence of rival company Uber. Uber Technologies is a US-based company that operates in 570 cities worldwide and offers transportation and food delivery mobile phone apps. The move by Ford will tap into the market dominated by Uber and provide a shakeup for the company’s presence on the roads of Britain. Industry experts predict that autonomous vehicles will present as big an impact on society as did the initial stages of the mass production of cars for the global market.

The taxis will not have a steering wheel or pedals and will have a design intended exclusively for use on the street. The aim is to power ride-sharing and ride-hailing services and to minimise the number of human drivers operating taxi services. The move will be Ford’s first major leap into the world of driverless cars and announces a change in the way transport services will operate in the future. Passengers will no longer need to hail taxis and via an app and will be picked up and dropped off at their desired location at the time of their choosing.

Mark Fields, the president and CEO of Ford, stated: “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago. We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury.”

To manufacture the fleet of driverless taxis, Ford is expected to work with four other start-ups and will double its team at Silicon Valley.