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Ford Is Far From First in Driverless Vehicles—and Investors Want In

Old-line automakers are separating their autonomous units and attracting big money.

Ford is currently testing its autonomous vehicles in Miami.

Ford is currently testing its autonomous vehicles in Miami.

Ford Motor Co.
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The autonomous-vehicle gap between Ford Motor Co. and its rivals from Detroit and Silicon Valley can be measured in years. Yet even a company playing catch-up in the race to turn self-driving technology into high-margin businesses is drawing interest from outside investors, an indicator of just how much money is pouring in.

“I’m really excited about what I'm hearing and seeing in terms of interest with many credible entities,” said Sherif Marakby, the Ford veteran who spent a year at Uber Inc. and is now chief executive officer of the newly formed Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC.