Financiera

Ford to Test New Self-driving Vehicle Technology in 2018

Ford to Test New Self-driving Vehicle Technology in 2018

The move is part of a larger plan to free up production space at the automaker's plant in Flat Rock, Michigan so it can build its first autonomous-drive vehicle.

Mark Fields, Ford's CEO at the time, referred to the plans for the Michigan plant as a "vote of confidence" in the Trump administration. It remains to be seen how President Trump will react to the news this time around. In preparation for building its first autonomous vehicle, Ford reportedly plans to invest $200 million in the factory, as well as the $700 million it previously announced.

In fact it now expects to have 850 jobs there, rather than 700. Information on the vehicle itself is still sparse, but it's said to be a hybrid and built on an entirely new platform.

The company, along with every other automaker, is making a major push into self-driving car technology.

The United Auto Workers union said Thursday that the latest decision by Ford to produce the EVs in Mexico will not result in fewer jobs at home because the union already negotiated future job commitments. Ford currently builds the Fiesta there, which isn't very popular. According to Alan Hall, a spokesman for Ford, the revised plan will allow it to build more self-driving cars, and it will also increase the number of jobs at the Flat Rock plant.

Both the 2020 electric and the 2021 self-driving vehicles will draw on the next-generation Ford Focus for some of their underbody structure and components while using different propulsion systems. The automakers met with Vice President Mike Pence recently to express concerns about moving away from NAFTA.