Faraday Future Gets Permission To Test Self-Driving Cars On California’s Roads

At the start of this year, enigmatic company Faraday Future held a gala event at CES 2016 at which it laid out some of its goals for the future, boasted about its modular vehicle platform, and unveiled a single-seat concept sports car that will likely never make it to production.

It did not, however, tell the assembled audience anything about the cars it says it will begin producing as early as next year.

FF's autonomous vehicle technology is now approved for testing on California's roads.

FF’s autonomous vehicle technology is now approved for testing on California’s roads.

Since then, the Chinese-backed company has continued to keep the majority of discussion over its future vehicles a closely guarded secret, focusing instead on celebrating such milestones as being granted a new patent for a motor inverter system, groundbreaking for its brand-new production facility north of Las Vegas, Nevada, and allowing electric car advocates the chance to tour its engineering facility in Los Angeles.

So far, we've only seen patents and an outlandish concept car.

So far, we’ve only seen patents and an outlandish concept car.

Yet although Faraday Future is known to be still focusing on developing its various key technologies in test mules built by rival firms, the news broke yesterday that it has been given permissions by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles on public roads.

As reported by Reuters, the official approval, granted on June 17, means that Faraday Future joins a number of other automotive and software companies already approved to test autonomous vehicles on the roads of California, including Alphabet (Google), Volkswagen, Tesla Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Ford, Bosch and Delphi Automotive. Approved recently alongside Faraday Future are two startups by the name of Zoox and Drive.ai., both of which are focused on developing hardware and software for autonomous vehicles rather than building and selling autonomous vehicles directly to the general public.

For as long as it has existed, Faraday Future has promised its vehicles would offer some form of autonomy, allowing them to challenge not only how we use our cars, but traditional ownership models. This latest news suggests that it is following through on that promise, developing autonomous vehicle software and hardware to embed into its first electric vehicles.

As for the cars themselves or when we can expect them to go on sale? That’s still very much a mystery to all but the most loyal of employees. And given the enigmatic way with which Faraday Future is avoiding pretty much every direct question from the media on the matter of its production plans, vehicle specifications and pricing, we’re starting to wonder if Faraday Future even intends to sell its vehicles at all, choosing instead to simply hire its vehicles out to customers on an ad-hoc basis.

FF has made a lot of noise about its vehicle platform, but we've still yet to see a production intent vehicle.

FF has made a lot of noise about its vehicle platform, but we’ve still yet to see a production intent vehicle.

Reading between the lines, that’s what we’re now expecting from the company keen to knock Tesla off the podium of electric car greatness. But until we see or experience more of what Faraday Future is planning for ourselves, we’re in the dark.

What do you make of Faraday Future’s enigmatic development process? And what sort of autonomous vehicle technology to you expect it to test on California’s roads? And will it really construct its first automotive production facility and bring its first vehicle to market within a year or is it just wishful thinking?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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