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 have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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
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.

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/ford/202722/ford-gt-developer-multimatic-launches-special-vehicle-operations-group
Ford

Ford GT developer Multimatic launches Special Vehicle Operations group

10 Jun 2020
Visit/ford/202556/ken-blocks-hoonifox-1980s-mustang-blends-dtm-with-miami-vice
Ford

Ken Block’s Hoonifox – 1980s Mustang blends DTM with Miami Vice

30 Apr 2020
Visit/ford/202430/ford-cortina-mk1-by-retro-ford-review
Ford

Ford Cortina Mk1 by Retro Ford review

26 Apr 2020
Visit/ford/202489/next-ford-focus-rs-officially-dead
Ford

Next Ford Focus RS officially dead

20 Apr 2020
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/lamborghini/202829/tecnomar-launches-4000hp-v12-lamborghini-yacht
Lamborghini

Tecnomar launches 4000hp V12 Lamborghini yacht

The V12-powered yacht is Tecnomar’s most capable offering yet, and takes inspiration from Lamborghini’s most recent models
30 Jun 2020
Visit/news/21596/ares-panther-progettouno-reborn-de-tomaso-pantera-hits-the-road
News

Ares Panther ProgettoUno – reborn De Tomaso Pantera hits the road

5.2-litre V10 and pop-up headlights for Dany Bahar’s reimagined supercar
9 Jul 2020
Visit/lamborghini/202866/lamborghini-sian-roadster-revealed-with-808bhp-electrified-v12
Lamborghini

Lamborghini Sián Roadster revealed with 808bhp electrified V12

The supercapacitor-equipped Lamborghini Sián has ditched its roof with a new roadster variant
8 Jul 2020
Visit/mercedes/amg-gt/201615/2021-mercedes-amg-gt-black-series-revealed-in-new-video
Mercedes AMG GT

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series revealed in new video

The long-awaited Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series has been shown for the first time in an official video
9 Jul 2020