Ford out to build self-driving chip itself to avoid supplier disputes

Will Ford’s self-driving future usher in a shiny age of power steering, fluid flight controls and cars that can park themselves?

Ford announced plans to build its own computer chips for self-driving cars as it pushes for more autonomous vehicles, reports New York Times and other media outlets.

Much of the most promising autonomous technology is currently controlled by complex computer chips, or controllers. Those controllers run everything from maps to other vehicle systems, including steering, acceleration and braking.

Ford said it will build its own chips for autonomous vehicles, removing potential chances of costly design errors.

“Ford is changing how the world thinks about technology,” Derrick Kuzak, Ford executive vice president of global product development, said in a news release. “We are starting to design these systems in-house, rather than simply getting them off the shelf from multiple suppliers, with our own expertise in those areas.”

While Ford’s new chips will not contain embedded machine learning to enable automated driving, they could still play a critical role in future technology. Computer chips could be used to develop technology that would use fast data collection for continuous and continuous alerts to drivers.

Auto supply companies will also be hurt by the Ford chip decision, writes Bloomberg.

The chip could hinder the mainstay automotive supplier jobs that Ford has been trying to capture by taking its cars back in-house and offering a suite of software, data services and services.

The move comes after technology companies and auto suppliers entered into an agreement to require that any supplier that develops autonomous software and related hardware make its systems available to automakers at a discount.

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