Ford announced plans to pursue autonomous driving technology in 2013, and after opening a research center in Palo Alto this past January, the company appears to have dedicated itself to developing autonomous driving systems with the end goal of introducing the technology to a production model. Recent sightings of a Ford self-driving car in a fake testing city seem to have confirmed this.
Earlier this year, an empty city known as Mcity was constructed for the explicit purpose of allowing companies to test-drive autonomous vehicles without the dangerous of introducing them into direct traffic. Ford is the first company to make use of this track, allowing their Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle to roam the streets of Mcity freely.
Mcity functions like a real city, with stop signs, working traffic lights, and a number of other accurate features that allows Ford and other companies to observe their autonomous cars in a controlled but realistic setting. Ford says using the information will be indispensable to developing and improving the technology that goes into their research car. The Ford self-driving car is still in development, but seems closer than ever to the goal of production.