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The automated future of driving has been revealed (and there’s no steering wheel)

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David Cornish
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2021. Stick it in your diary. It's the year that Ford plans to change car ownership forever more.

The American automotive company has announced its intentions to have "a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service". Think Tesla plus Uber, and you're on the right lines...

  • The automated future of driving has been revealed (and there's no steering wheel)

    What's Ford's big plan?

    By 2021, Ford wants to have a fleet of vehicles on the roads that won't be owned by individuals in the conventional "This is my ride" manner.

    Their automated car won't have a steering wheel, nor brake pedals or any controls for a driver. Instead, the car will be controlled by a series of mapping, scanning and camera technologies, driving the vehicle to a destination inputted by the passengers. 

  • The automated future of driving has been revealed (and there's no steering wheel) 1

    So I won't need to own a car anymore

    Ford isn't about to stop making cars you can drive yourself - it's just recognising the shift toward services like Uber and the advances of self-driving cars.

    "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. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles."

  • The automated future of driving has been revealed (and there's no steering wheel) 2

    So what next?

    For now, Ford is set to expand its teams in Silicon Valley and Palo Alto to start fine tuning the new autonomous driving system. 

    The company didn't reveal exactly how its ride-hail business is going to work: whether it would sell a fleet of its cars to the likes of Uber in order for the company to further its own domination of the ride-sharing market, or if it would launch its own rival to beat Uber at its own game.

    Until 2021, you can expect further advances from the likes of Tesla - whose 'Autopilot' feature continues to gain true autonomy with updates - and other major motoring companies. Audi has suggested it wants to have its cars "talk" to traffic lights - though not as a safety aid, but rather to make the process of sitting waiting at lights "less stressful". 

    Start brushing up those anecdotes about learning to drive and owning a car - your kids will never know the delights of pimping out an old Ford Fiesta. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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