Earlier this year, we revealed that electric car startup Faraday Future (FF) hired Bosch engineering director and leading automated driving expert, Jan Becker, to lead its own self-driving effort. The company has been building an impressive team of automated driving experts under Becker, including experts from Ford and more recently, the startup hired computer vision expert, Sangmin Oh, from Nvidia.
Now we learn that just months after starting the project, Faraday Future is about to start testing self-driving car prototypes in Michigan.
Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, told The Detroit News that the electric car startup contacted him in January – when they hired Becker – about how to apply for plates to test self-driving vehicles in the state.
The state official has confirmed that the company has since applied for three manufacturer license plates, which is part of the requirements to test autonomous vehicles in Michigan. A Faraday Future representative did confirm the plates will be used to help test “various FF-vehicle prototypes”, but it didn’t confirm (or deny) that the prototypes will be autonomous.
Just over 2 years since its inception, FF already employs more than 760 people in the United States and 200 more worldwide. The company hired heavily from EV competitors, especially Tesla.
Last month, Faraday hired Tesla’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Deputy General Counsel, James Chen, for a similar role at the startup. The company also hired several Tesla manufacturing executives to lead the firm’s effort at its new factory under construction in North Las Vegas.
FF has yet to unveil – or even just talk about – the first vehicle it plans to bring to prodution at its new plant, but it is expected to be a long-range all-electric luxury crossover, and now potentially autonomous. The company has been running tests on a few mules and it expects to have a prototype to unveil by the end of the year.