>> Ford Motor Company taking the wraps off its self-driving car operation in Miami this week. As the automaker looks for investors to fund what's likely to be a multi-billion dollar effort, to transform its autonomous vehicle technology into a real business. Reuters global automotive industry editor Joe White covered the event.
>> In Miami, Ford is doing two things at once. First, it's testing the design of the robot brain for it's driver, which is being developed by its ARGO subsidiary, and they're using Ford Fusions like this for that. The other thing that Ford is doing separately is testing different ways in which autonomous vehicles could be put to commercial use, for instance, delivering groceries for Walmart, delivering pizzas for Domino's.
And they're figuring out whether people will come out of a high rise building to pick up a pizza or a bag of groceries. These operations have been going on for almost this entire year and next year, Ford intends to expand to more cities.>> Ford has made a big bet on it's self driving ambitions, investing a billion dollars in Argo which builds the technology that powers Ford's autonomous vehicles.
>> Ford executives say that their self driving vehicle system still needs testing and they're testing in different cities because in each city, the traffic patterns are different. The way people behave is different. In Miami, construction can shut down a street from one day to the other. Some cities are not grids, some cities have bad weather.
All of this has to be sorted out but Ford says it is on track to deploy a commercially ready Commercially saleable autonomous vehicle by 2021. By then, they will have substituted a purpose-built vehicle, something designed to be autonomous for vehicles like this Fusion.>> Ford is also in discussions with rival Volkswagen about a possible investment in its self-driving vehicle unit.
Though Ford CEO told Reuters that teaming up with the German automaker was a quote delicate dance, after all, they're competitors. With the high costs of bringing safe, reliable self-driving cars to the market have many automakers looking for ways to share those costs, and consider alliances that would have been considered unthinkable not so long ago.