Ford will release a fully autonomous car with no steering wheel or pedals for commercial use that will reach the UK after 2021
Doug Revolta Autocar
19 August 2016

Ford will begin testing its mass-market commercial autonomous car across Europe and the UK next year, the manufacturer has confirmed to Autocar.

The car is likely to be based on the Ford Mondeo, without a steering wheel or pedals, and available with different types of powertrains – including hybrid and EV variants – depending on the market.

Ford stressed that it wants to ensure its technology works in all markets. Testing is already underway in the US, which is the centre for the development of this project, and cars will be on American roads in 2021.

With European testing not starting until next year, the technology will roll out on the continent after it does in the US, but it’s not yet decided when exactly that will be.

"The test vehicle is based on the Mondeo, and it's the most flexible platform," said Thomas Lukaszewicz, Ford's European automated driving manager.

"For car sharing, I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate body than Mondeo. But the final decision of what it will be has not been made.

"Our system is capable of every powertrain," he added. "We are flexible on that. Urban areas can be electric, for example, but we need to see what is appropriate."

The Blue Oval is still looking for business partners to join this autonomous car-sharing venture and is in the process of talking to interested parties. Volvo has recently partnered with Uber to develop driverless car-sharing technology.

There are still a number of legal issues that Ford must consider to make its fully autonomous car a reality. However, the manufacturer told Autocar it remains confident of reaching a resolution and getting it on the roads, and that the response from governments and insurance companies has been broadly positive.

California, however, has previously stated that it will not allow cars without steering wheels and pedals on its roads. But Ford says California has been one of the most supportive cities, suggesting the city could rethink its stance on autonomous cars.

The manufacturer also hinted that the technology could potentially make its way into other Ford products in the future, such is the flexibility of the autonomous platform. The electric Model E line-up could be a candidate for the technology.

There is not yet any indication what the finished vehicle will cost, or what numbers will be produced.

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Comments
10

19 August 2016
"California, however, has previously stated that it will not allow cars without steering wheels and pedals on its roads. But Ford says California has been one of the most supportive cities, suggesting the city could rethink its stance on autonomous cars."

I've always been under the impression that California is a state.

Citroëniste.

19 August 2016
Looking forward to hearing about these cars crash & self destruct, hopefully not taking out other motorists or causing too much collateral damage as they predictably encounter the unpredictable .

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

19 August 2016
Reminds me of the above article I was reading on Zerohedge the other day:

"...the whole auto industry is in serious trouble when truly autonomous driving arrives. Below is a little math to help illustrate the point.

Right now there are roughly 250mm light-duty passenger cars on the road in the U.S. (that's about 1 car per driving age person, btw, which is fairly astounding by itself). American's travel roughly 3 trillion miles per year in aggregate which which means that each car travels an average of 12k miles per year. Now if you assume the average rate of travel is 45 miles per hour then you'll find that each car is implied to be on the road for an average of about 45 minutes per day. That's a capacity utilization of about 3%... Now, if capacity utilization doubles from just 3% to 6% all of sudden half the number of cars are required in the US which means annual SAAR goes from ~17mm to ~8.5mm... The problem with Ubers/Taxis is that they're expensive for daily use due primariliy to the labor overhead that's built into your per mile rate. But fully autonous vehicles solve both those problems. Now, people will have the option of a vehicle at their beck and call without having to fund the upfront capital cost of a purchase and/or the per unit human capital costs inherent in taking an Uber. In other words, the per mile rental rate of a fully autonomous car should be competed down to a level that provides an adequate return solely on the cost of the vehicle...no wages, no benefits, none of the typical hassles associated with employing people. Or, said another way, taking an Uber is going to get really freaking cheap...which means Ford and GM likely find themselves in another bailout situation..."

20 August 2016
Ford didn't require a bailout. It was only GM. One can only hope to God that autonomous cars will make GM go under. That day can't come too soon. Will reduce the turd count on our roads significantly. Will stop making a mockery of the proud Vauxhall owners who claim to be enthusiasts yet defend their shitboxes. Will stop wasting significant resources the planet can ill afford to waste. A win for everyone .

19 August 2016
Which? magazine. Not Autocar.

20 August 2016
Just get on a bus FFS.

21 August 2016
Has Ford not watched Wall-e - will all Ford drivers (and everyone else) become like the humans in the film - unable to move without machines?

21 August 2016
Has Ford not watched Wall-e - will all Ford drivers (and everyone else) become like the humans in the film - unable to move without machines?

21 August 2016
I get what most posters are saying,but,wouldn't it be great when you've got a few hundred miles to get to your destination if the Car actually drove itself?,it would take a lot of the stress away.Yes i agree there will be accidents,no system is perfect,they're not human enough yet,but we have to face the facts that there are more and more Cars on the Roads every year,grid lock might become reality,so letting Cars decide how,where,when might have to be looked at,as to who controls that,well, you tell me!

Peter Cavellini.

22 August 2016
It's inevitable the autonomous car will replace driving cars as we know it. What I don't understand is why anyone who reads Autocar is looking forward to this day.

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