SF Motors Launches its Autonomous Research Vehicles on Silicon Valley Streets

SF Motors Launches its Autonomous Research Vehicles on Silicon Valley Streets

Author: Eric Walz   

SANTA CLARA, Calif., —  SF Motors, an electric vehicle smart mobility brand based in Silicon Valley, reached an important milestone in its autonomous plans, by deploying its first fleet of autonomous driving test vehicles on the streets of Silicon Valley.

The moves comes after the company was granted a permit from California's Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicle technology on public roads in the state. SF Motors is one of 50 companies who have been granted a permit for autonomous vehicle testing. Others include, Apple, Waymo, Baidu, and autonomous driving startup Aurora.

SF Motors recently established a U.S. research and development center in Silicon Valley, as well as a R&D branch in Ann Arbor, Mich., and branches in Germany, Japan and China. With its two manufacturing plants and four global R&D offices, SF Motors is aggressively pursuing state-of-the-art intelligent and connected vehicle technologies.

"On the heels of receiving our autonomous vehicle test permit in California, we believe this is the ideal time to begin putting our research to the test as we prepare to unveil our intelligent electric vehicles equipped with advanced autonomous and connectivity systems," says John Zhang, CEO of SF Motors. "To compete in the global EV market, we've placed a considerable investment in research and development and because our technology is at the core of our vehicles. We're humbled to see our technology be deployed in our backyard and see the future of our advanced systems as exceptionally bright."

SF Motors finalized a multi-year $2.5-million agreement with the University of Michigan in late 2016 to conduct proprietary joint research on advanced automated driving systems. This investment has led to ground-breaking progress in autonomous technologies such as heterogeneous sensor fusion, multi-object detection and tracking, and high-performance motion controls—all crucial technologies for the deployment of autonomous vehicles.

These technologies are supporting new product development and extensive testing validation at SF Motors focused on delivering reliable and safe products to customers. Test drives are being conducted in California and Michigan, with further research expected to continue to advance the technologies.

"Looking ahead, SF Motors targets to achieve protected autonomy in 2020 through fast innovations and iterated developments in multiple technology areas, such as deep-learning, sensor fusion, path planning, human machine interface, safety and redundancy, vehicle electronics, to name a few," says Yifan Tang, CTO of SF Motors. "We will utilize our strength in system integration as well as supplier partnerships to overcome the many challenges in bringing autonomous driving to the global markets."


The SF Motors Silicon Valley office

The company has had a busy year. SF Motors announced in November of last year that it closed on its acquisition of AM General's sprawling commercial assembly plant (CAP) in Indiana to build its vehicles. After retooling, the company will use the former Hummer and Mercedes Benz assembly plant to produce its "intelligent" electric vehicles, with materials sourced primarily from U.S. sources.

In October of 2017, SF Motors purchased InEVit, a EV and battery tech firm founded by former Tesla executive Martin Eberhard for $33 million. Eberhard was the co-founder of Tesla Motors and became the company's first CEO. He is currently serving as SF Motors' chief innovation officer (CIO) and vice chairman of the board.

SF Motors is also testing autonomous driving vehicles on the roads in China. The company plans to publicly announce and unveil its intelligent electric concept vehicle for global markets at an event scheduled for March 28 at its headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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