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.

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.

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.

Recommended

Ford RS1700T – Dead on arrival
Ford RS1700T
Ford

Ford RS1700T – Dead on arrival

Even turbo power and a switch to rear-wheel drive couldn’t make the Mk3 Escort competitive against the upcoming mid-engined, 4WD weapons of 1980s rall…
24 Feb 2022
CNC Motorsport AWS to new-build Sierra Cosworth RS500 in Group A competition spec
CNC Motorsport AWS Sierra Cosworth RS500 – front and rear
Ford

CNC Motorsport AWS to new-build Sierra Cosworth RS500 in Group A competition spec

Motorsport royalty to be rebuilt with new-build Ford Sierra Cosworth SR500 in Andy Rouse Engineering spec
28 Oct 2021
Ford partners with Redwood Materials to invest in closed-loop battery cycle
Ford sustainability
Ford

Ford partners with Redwood Materials to invest in closed-loop battery cycle

The move to electrification has its own threats to sustainability, but Ford’s new partnership aims to close the loop
23 Sep 2021
Mountune reveals new M260 package for Fiesta ST and Puma ST
Mountune M260 package – range
Ford

Mountune reveals new M260 package for Fiesta ST and Puma ST

The new-for 2021 M260 tuning package for Puma and Fiesta ST bumps power to 258bhp
3 Jun 2021

Most Popular

Prodrive P25 teased – continuation Subaru Impreza WRX STI on its way
P25 teaser
Subaru

Prodrive P25 teased – continuation Subaru Impreza WRX STI on its way

Maker of the P1 and a key facilitator of Subaru’s rally heritage, Prodrive is working on a very special new project
19 May 2022
Viritech Apricale – deep dive on the first hydrogen-powered hypercar
Viritech Apricale
car technology

Viritech Apricale – deep dive on the first hydrogen-powered hypercar

This is not another heavyweight battery-electric hypercar, rather it’s a showcase for a new hydrogen fuel-cell technology that can deliver 1200bhp in …
18 May 2022
Used car deals of the week
header
used cars

Used car deals of the week

This week, we found a special McLaren 12C, a rare Mazda RX-7 and more
19 May 2022