Ford promise mass produced autonomous self-driving cars without a steering wheel by 2021


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Ford promise mass produced autonomous self-driving cars without a steering wheel by 2021

Within the next five years, Ford promises to mass produce fully autonomous cars without steering wheel or pedals.

They are currently collaborating with and investing in various start-ups which will help the company to  vastly increase its autonomous vehicle development capabilities.

Ford plan to spend $1.3bn to upgrade production and new technology facilities at Dearborn in Michigan and also in Europe. They will begin testing new technologies on European roads in the next few months.

Mark Fields, President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company said: "We are dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people and not just those who can afford luxury cars."

[caption id="attachment_1956" align="alignnone" width="821"]1471537681-cb4425bfccbdf5f8a1622e5b92f23ba8-600x562 Mark Fields, President and CEO of the Ford Motor Company[/caption]

Ford say the vehicles will initially be used for ride-sharing or ride-hailing services.

“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,” company president Mark Fields said.


Cars without steering wheels

Even now, some car manufacturers including Mercedes Benz have tested new technology vehicles where the steering wheel must only be touched every 60 seconds.

With these advancements, it will mean more freedom to work or relax as a driver. With this will come the consequent headache for governments and road safety authorities.

In the future, cars will be controlled by voice commands rather than the dreaded three-point turn? Hefty insurance premiums will be a thing of the past as cars become less accident prone.

Many other question still remain and many questions may not have even been asked yet. For example, the issue of blame will have to be sorted out if the "driver" does not have a steering wheel.

Despite these technical issues which have yet to be ironed out,Ford says that autonomous vehicles are the future. Executive vice president of global production development Raj Nair says that Ford has been working on autonomous vehicle technology for about 10 years and now is developing the software and sensing technology to combine with their sophisticated engineering.

Ford said they are not interested in building level two or level three cars in which human drivers can take control of the vehicle when necessary. Instead, they are focusing on level four vehicles  which they describe as “a Society of Automotive Engineers-rated level 4-capable vehicle without a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals”.

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