Self-driving car ‘coming in 2021’ say Ford 0

Selfdriving-car-coming-in-2021-say-FordThe president of Ford Motors, Mark Fields has announced at an event in Palo Alto, California, that his company intends to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the roads by 2021.

The company’s budget, set aside for autonomous projects, is set to be doubled in order to help meet the ambitious ‘five years away’ deadline.

They also revealed that the most likely first function of the technology would be as an Uber like ride sharing service – but one that doesn’t have a human driver.

Mr Fields said in an interview with the BBC, “As you can imagine, the experience inside a vehicle where you don’t have to take control changes everything,

“Whether you want to do work, whether you want entertainment…those are the types of things we are thinking about as we design the experience for this type of autonomous vehicle.”

Mr Field’s announcement, which he described as “transformational” will possibly herald the start of a new period of evolution for Ford, as they start to play more of an ad-hoc part in day to day life, as opposed to just selling cars for the general public.

“There will be a growing percent of the industry that will be fully autonomous vehicles,” Mr Field said.

“Our goal is not only to be an auto company, but an auto and mobility company.”

In the last few years, Ford has been keen to point out that these days it is more of a technology company rather than just a car maker. On Tuesday, it started to sound like one.

The American automaker has entered into a partnership with the Chinese firm Baidu and has invested £115 million in Velodyne – a company that works on light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology. LiDAR is the system used for accurately detecting objects around the car.

Ford also contributed to an investment of $6.6 million for Civil Maps – a digital mapping company –in addition to investing in neuroscience research.

Google is still the company leading the way with regards to self-driving technology; its cars have been out and about on public roads for some time now, clocking up the test mileage. It is also developing a car without a steering wheel. Regulations have prohibited that vehicle from venturing beyond private land however.

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