Ford will debut the next generation Fusion Hybrid, the company’s first autonomous vehicle, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas.
The automotive giant has a roadmap to launch the autonomous car by 2021, but will start to preview the vehicle at events throughout 2017. CES will be the first event, followed by the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), also taking place in January.
The Readwrite team got a demo of the autonomous Fusion at Ford’s R&D facility last September:
Ford has updated the autonomous Fusion Hybrid with more processing power and improved the sensor placement. The LIDAR sensor design has been refined, with an enhanced field of view.
The improvements have allowed Ford to reduce the amount of car sensors, while still maintaining the same effectiveness. This could reduce the overall costs of manufacturing the Fusion Hybrid, when it finally hits the market in four years.
Ford has not set a price for the Fusion Hybrid, but plans to launch a self-driving fleet in several major cities across the United States in 2021. The fleet will come alongside a ride-hailing app, which will compete with Uber and Lyft.
The automotive giant entered the autonomous car race late, but has made a few big moves to ensure it doesn’t fall too far behind. It recently doubled the size of its development team at Silicon Valley, invested in 40 startups, and signed a long ranging deal with BlackBerry.
It has yet to make a multi-million dollar move for a self-driving startup, like its rival General Motors, but most of the other moves have been made. The hard part now is catching up to companies like Tesla, Uber, and Google, who have self-driving vehicles on the road today.