Faraday Future says it is also making an autonomous car

Chinese-backed electric car maker Faraday Future says it is working on a self-driving vehicle.

The company not so secretly owned by LeTV joins a growing list of tech companies making autonomous cars, including Google, Tesla, Apple (big rumor) and even IBM now powers a self-driving bus.

Faraday revealed its first concept car, the FFZERO1, at CES earlier this year — an electric car with the look of a Hot Wheels toy. The car was said to be made with a variable platform architecture (VPA), and came with what the company referred to as a “UFO line” design dividing the black and silver body of the vehicle. It also came equipped with a space helmet for some reason.

Faraday’s chief engineer seemed full of buzzwords about the car and little else at the time — leaving many to wonder just what was under the hood.

Meanwhile, Faraday’s parent company has been busy launching its own electric vehicle and an autonomous taxi and it seems Faraday is following suit.

We don’t know much about the new car, but the company has recently acquired an Autonomous Vehicle Tester (AVT) permit in California, which will allow it to start testing a self-driving car on public roads in the state.

California has so far granted permission to 14 companies to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, including GM’s Cruise Automation, Google, Volkswagen and now Faraday.

But the company is placing its bets beyond the Golden State. Faraday reportedly plans to start testing self-driving vehicles in Detroit, Michigan, as well. According to The Detroit News, the company approached Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, in January to ask how to apply for autonomous vehicle plates.

Though Faraday has yet to produce a working prototype car, it says it will be testing autonomous driving software, sensors, hardware and user interfaces in “real-world” environments in each state.

California law requires a test driver to be present inside driverless vehicles and Faraday says it is working on a car that will allow those inside to switch from manual to autonomous mode.

“Through this enhanced testing, and under the constant supervision of our qualified test drivers who will be behind the steering wheel at all times, we are confident in the success of the autonomous technologies that we are developing for future FF products,” a Faraday spokesperson said in a statement.