Ford promises its self-driving tech is 'incredibly competitive'

The company argues that it is not falling behind in the race to develop self-driving vehicles.

Ford may not be the most vocal automaker in reporting progress with self-driving technology, however the company apparently does not believe rivals are pulling ahead in the race to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market.

The automaker in 2017 acquired a majority stake in startup Argo AI, paying for five years of software development and aiming to launch a an SAE Level 4-capable vehicle by 2021.

"Our self-driving system, Argo, is incredibly competitive," chairman Bill Ford said at a recent automotive tech conference in Israel, as quoted by Reuters. "On the technology side, we are right up there with the very best in terms of time of development but we want to take great care before we let people in these vehicles."

The executive argued that it isn't yet known when customers' perception will be "good enough that it is going to be ready for mass consumer adoption" and the company is consequently waiting for more clarity before launching any self-driving vehicles.

In the meantime, Ford is involved in several business-focused autonomy projects including an electric semi truck and on-demand delivery.

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