The Ford Motor Company is set to test its self-driving cars on public roads next year as the automaker secured a California autonomous vehicle driving permit.
In line with this, Ford says fully autonomous Fusion Hybrid sedans will drive through California streets in 2016. The American automaker added that Ford is now officially enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program, which would give them the liberty to test their autonomous vehicles on public roads.
They said vehicle testing is part of Ford's 10-year autonomous vehicle development project, and a key element of the company's Smart Mobility program.
Ford's Smart Mobility program is a plan to take the company to the next level in “connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, as well as data and analytics.”
The company is further expanding its strategic research collaboration with Stanford in 2016. Under this collaboration, Ford is planning 13 projects, which covers all five areas of its Smart Mobility program.
Last month, Ford became the first automaker to test its autonomous vehicles at the University of Michigan’s “full-scale simulated real-world urban environment” called 'Mcity.'
As previously reported, the 'Mcity' facilityis a highly urbanized city that includes real-world road scenarios,’ which can’t be replicated in real life like ‘running a red light.’ It also comes with street lamps, pedestrian lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, traffic signs and even incidentals like public construction.