Ford announced this week it will be mass producing autonomous cars within five years.

The American car giant is going to invest heavily in its Silicon Valley operations over the next 12 months as it drives towards achieving its five year plan.

Mark Fields, CEO at Ford Motor Company wrote on Linkedin: “We’re announcing our intent to have fully autonomous vehicles in commercial operation for a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service beginning in 2021. This is significant. Ford will be mass producing vehicles capable of driving fully autonomously within five years. No steering wheel. No gas pedals. No brake pedals. A driver will not be required.

“When we step back and look at how we can make the most difference in people’s lives during the next 100 years, we see the autonomous car changing the way the world moves. That’s because autonomous cars address a host of safety, social, and environmental challenges.”

He continued: “Autonomous vehicles will open up opportunities for the elderly, people with disabilities and people not yet old enough — or those that don’t want to own a car — to get around.

“We’re designing this first generation of autonomous vehicles specifically to be used for ride hailing and ride sharing — another seismic shift in the transportation landscape. The nature of ownership is changing. More and more people rely on shared forms of transportation. That means cars will be used more efficiently, decreasing pollution, saving people time hunting for parking and helping reduce traffic congestion, all over the world, making life better for all of us.”

Detailing the plans on Medium, he added: “We’re announcing that we’re expanding our presence in Silicon Valley going from a single Research and Innovation Center building to create an entire campus with the addition of two buildings right across the street.

“We will double our staff by the end of next year, and we’re very happy to be attracting some of the best engineers, technologists, designers and researchers available. They’re coming to be part of a unique opportunity that few companies can offer.”