Ford Motor Co. this week announced plans to upgrade its autonomous driving program from initial research to advanced engineering.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker appointed longtime Ford engineer Randy Visintainer to oversee its development program for autonomous vehicles. Visintainer previously ran Ford's global product development.
"We fully believe fully autonomous vehicle driving will be possible," said Raj Nair, Ford's global product development vice president.
The company announced the move at its new research center in Palo Alto, California, which will lead the efforts to continue development of its driverless technology.
Ford CEO Mark Fields said he expects other companies to debut autonomous cars by 2020, and that Ford's focus will be on making sure the technology is "accessible to the masses and truly enhancing our customers’ lives."
Ford's autonomous program largely lagged behind those of other automakers; rideshare company Uber and tech giant Google are also developing self-driving programs.
Ford also announced new developments in 3D printing and Internet connectivity, and said anti-collision technology currently available in Europe would debut in the U.S. next year. The company plans to include the Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology on most products by 2019.