Ford Motor Company has acquired mobile robotics firm Quantum Signal for an undisclosed sum in order to advance the development of self-driving vehicles.

Based in Michigan, the Quantum Signal focuses on mobile robotics, modelling and simulation.

The company manufactures mobile robots for a number of clients. It designed ANVEL, which is used by the US military to test unmanned remote and autonomous systems.

The acquisition is part of Ford Motor’s ambition to field ‘robotaxis’ and driverless delivery vehicles within the next two years.

Ford said that it will use Quantum Signal’s experience in real-time simulation and algorithm development, as well as robotics, sensing and perception technology.

Ford Autonomous Vehicle Unit chief technology officer Randy Visintainer said: “The number one priority is 2021, it’s all about getting that done.

“When we first set that target, we knew this was a very, very hard problem and we weren’t going to be able to do it alone.”

The acquisition will not lead to any operational changes for Quantum Signal, as it will continue to run independently under the same name.

In order to meet the 2021 deadline for its driverless vehicle, Quantum is likely to drop all its defence work.

Visintainer added: “Anything that’s not required for 2021 is automatically going to be deprioritised.”

Earlier this month, Ford signed an agreement with German automaker Volkswagen AG to develop self-driving cars. VW had contributed $2.6bn to artificial intelligence company Argo.

With a valuation of $7bn, Ford and VW joined elite groups such as Waymo and GM Cruise, which plan to build self-driving vehicles.

Last year, Ford Motor Company and Chinese internet firm Baidu partnered on a two-year project to advance the development and on-road testing of driverless vehicles in China.

It created Ford Autonomous Vehicles as a separate company for its self-driving business in July last year.