Ford will make a fully autonomous car without a steering wheel or pedals; it is currently testing in US cities
Doug Revolta Autocar
17 August 2016

Ford will release a fully autonomous mass-market car without a steering wheel or pedals in 2021 for commercial operations such as ride-sharing.

The manufacturer is investing in four start-ups to improve research in advanced algorithms, 3D mapping, LIDAR and radar and camera sensors, as well as doubling the size of its Silicon Valley team and adding two new buildings to its Palo Alto campus for the development of the technology.

News of the autonomous car comes from Ford in the US. Other markets have not been discussed by the company, but it's expected that this technology will become available in the UK.

The car will have an SAE Level 4 standard of autonomation, meaning it will be capable of all aspects of driving without anyone physically controlling it.

Ford is also this year tripling its autonomous test fleet to 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid saloons - which is the Ford Mondeo in the UK - in California, Arizona and Michigan, and it plans to triple it again in 2017. It has not been confirmed if the autonomous car will be a new model or a modified version of the Fusion.

Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, said: "The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford's moving assembly line did 100 years ago.

“We're dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people - not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”

The companies Ford is investing in as part of its technical development are Velodyne, SAIPS, Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC and Civil Maps.

Government regulations are likely to be one of the main obstacles for Ford to work with in order to make its autonomous plans a mass-market reality. Ford, Google and Uber formed a lobbying a group earlier this year in order to encourage governments to think more about how to implement autonomous vehicles in cities.

Read more: Ford is to test autonomous technology in the UK next year

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Comments
5

17 August 2016
These autonomous vehicles represent a huge investment to their companies, will those of us refusing an RFID chip implanted under our skin be allowed to continue to use the roads or will free range humans represent too much of a risk ?

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

17 August 2016
Yes indeed DB, the automotive conspiracy has demanded RFID chips for all citizens because cars that can self drive can detect and avoid any obstacle except humans.

Meanwhile in the real world, the freedom of self driving cars is getting closer leaving drinking for those of us who enjoy it. We might even decide to let our kids walk to school again without witless drivers being in control of cars.

17 August 2016
Most people don't know what freedom is until they have lost it. Your description of drivers as witless is very telling and also quite sad, indicating your lack of faith in humanity. Autonomous driving is not my vision of freedom.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

17 August 2016
Plenty of witless drivers out there I had one nearly kill my family a few years ago. So yes I have little faith in a significant proportion of the population who are unable to actually drive (like the folks I see in Bluetooth enabled cars holding their phones to their ears or the people incapable of merging into flowing traffic on motorways.

Autonomous driving IS my idea of freedom when those who can't drive are allowed to hand control over to microprocessors that CAN drive. You may alive in fear for the future but it's the future now and it's far, far better than the past - compulsory autonomous driving isn't going to happen.

17 August 2016
No one buys their self parking option so what chance does a car without a steering wheel in 5 years have. Why don't ford just say they're being out a flying car

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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