Ford is taking an aggressive approach to electric vehicles (EVs), hoping to build 600,000 in 2023 after selling just 61,575 last year. Their high ambitions don’t stop at ramping up EV production, but also include their self-driving technology, which Ford CEO Jim Farley says will be able to drive your car while you sleep in just two years time.
Ford unveiled plans on Friday to build its next-generation electric pickup truck, known as ‘Project T3’ (Trust-The-Truck), at its 3,600 acre BlueOval campus currently under construction in West Tennessee. The automaker said production is expected to begin in 2025, and the factory will be able to build 500,000 of the electric trucks per year at full capacity.
Details surrounding Project T3 are scarce, with no renderings or targeted specs released by Ford. The only details provided in the press release was that it would be “fully updatable, constantly improving, and supports towing, hauling, exportable power and endless new innovations owners will want.”
One pretty big piece that was left out of the press release but revealed by CEO Jim Farley related to the self-driving technology that will allow you to fall asleep behind the wheel. Farley made the bold prediction in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday.
“On the highway on a sunny day, you should be able to go to sleep in your truck or make a call or do whatever you want to do in your truck while it drives for you. It will be completely digital. It’s a really breakthrough product,” Farley said.
Based on the comments, it sounds like this self-driving technology will only work in pre-mapped areas, much like how Cruise and Waymo currently operate their autonomous vehicles. This is also similar to the approach Ford has taken with their existing driver-assist system Blue Cruise, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel on certain sections of highway. The big difference however is that the driver still needs to pay attention and be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.
How Ford will be able to reach this milestone, and in just two years, remains to be seen, especially considering they shut down their self-driving unit Argo AI last October.