Ford's 2021 autonomous car 'as significant as mass production 100 years ago'

Ford aims to have fully autonomous, car-sharing vehicles on the road by 2021

Ford has revealed details of fully autonomous systems it expects will be utilised for new cars in 2021.  

‘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,’ said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

The autonomous vehicles won’t be sold to the public, but instead used in “ride-sharing” programs, allowing cars to be summoned by a user, transporting them to their destination, before being summoned by the next user. It’s very similar to the system proposed by Elon Musk in Tesla’s “master plan, part deux” - taking emphasis away from sole ownership of vehicles and putting them to greater use during times they might otherwise be parked.

The company has set up a base in Palo Alto - in the heart of Silicon Valley - and is working alongside four partner firms to assist in the development of autonomous vehicles. This development revolves around the advancement of core technologies. The cost of light detection and ranging sensors must fall to build affordable cars, artificial intelligence must improve to ensure decisions made by the system are akin to that of drivers, and mapping technology requires refining, allowing autonomous cars to accurately navigate roads.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Current autonomous vehicles such as the Tesla Model S have partial automation, rated at “level 2” according to a scale devised by the Society of Automotive Engineers: the execution of steering and acceleration/declaration can be performed by the autonomous system, while the driver must continue to monitor the driving environment at all times.

“Level 4”, or “high automation”, sees the latter responsibility shifted to the autonomous system, and this is what's proposed for Ford’s system. To expedite the development process of automous technology, Ford is expanding its autonomous test fleet to 30 cars, operating in California, Arizona and Michigan, with plans to triple it again next year.

Ford will hope to beat the competition as the race for the first publically available autonomous car hots up - with Tesla taking a very public lead on the rest of the industry so far.




Ken Block versus Chinese mountainside: Climbkhana Two is here

18 Nov 2019

Ford Bronco R prototype to enter the Baja 1000

5 Nov 2019

The Ford Puma returns, sort of

26 Jun 2019

Ford Ranger Raptor review

3 May 2019

Most Popular

BMW 5 Series saloon

2020 BMW 5-series M Sport facelift spied

The BMW 5-series is about to get a fresh look, without bigger kidneys
1 Apr 2020
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
1 Apr 2020

Bugatti Chiron, Veyron and EB110 gather for a photoshoot of dreams

Celebrating the last three decades of operations, Bugatti gathered all three of its flagship hypercars in Dubai
31 Mar 2020
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019