Ford has demonstrated its commitment to developing autonomous cars, saying it plans to triple to 30 the size of its fleet of self-driving test cars. But as Hayley Platt reports, its CEO was keeping quiet at the Consumer Electronics Show about rumours of a deal with Google
Not quite the mass production it's famous for but Ford is tripling the size of its self-driving test cars. It plans to use 30 vehicles to accelerate development. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Ford's CEO said the car would have new eyes, thanks to a lower cost sensor, made by California-based Velodyne. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORD CEO MARK FIELDS, ADDRESSING CONFERENCE ON FORD'S NEW LIDAR SENSORS FOR AUTONOMOUS CARS, SAYING: "This all new sensor technology is elegant in design but it makes a huge impact in how it helps advance our autonomous driving technology." The cost of the technology has held up development of autonomous vehicles. But Velodyne's President and COO says its cars can now see better than a human. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL JELLEN, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF VELODYNE, SAYING: "From an intelligence standpoint, from an algorithm standpoint and from a sensor standpoint, this car can see in all directions at all times and that's much different from a human being. As a human being, we make continual assumptions while we drive, that's the difference." Ford was less forthcoming about reports it's in talks with Google to help build their autonomous car. Mark Fields had no comment apart from… (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORD CEO MARK FIELDS, ON GOOGLE RUMORS, SAYING: "There will be times when we do things on our own, there will be times when we partner with others, it all depends on what makes sense for us." Ford's also exploring ways to control the car from home and vice versa, linking in-home automation devices to in-car ones. The ultimate destination for that as yet unknown.