Is Ford going to ditch the steering wheel? 0

Ford’s self-driving car plans have moved a step nearer to fruition after it secured a patent for a vehicle with a detachable steering wheel and foot pedals.

The new design would see the steering wheel removed, the (former) driver’s airbag moving to a compartment located in its place.

Ford have said that the steering wheel could be refitted if necessary should the car need to undergo testing. It may also be offered as an optional extra on some models.

“[The removable wheel] enables the easy provision of a steering wheel as a uested option,” the company said in the patent.

These developments are the latest in a progression of steps that has seen the US car giant move towards completely autonomous vehicles, with no human driver whatsoever.

At present, there are a raft of semi-autonomous features being introduced gradually on a range of vehicles, such as Tesla’s autopilot. Ford believes that removing the human driver from the equation will ultimately create a safer driverless car.

Ford has said that the driverless tech is at such an early stage that it doesn’t expect to profit from its autonomous cars until 2021 at the earliest. The company has invested sizable amounts in Artificial Intelligence technology companies; $1 billion was paid to Argo AI, who will produce the software used by the vehicles.

Across the globe, all the major players in the automotive industry are readying themselves for the transition to autonomous. Fiat Chrysler have formed an alliance with BMW and Intel, Google and Uber have been racing each other to make headway with the technology.

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