Ford has confirmed it is working on a project to build self-driven cars in the future, but is happy to sit back and watch other carmakers along the way.
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Ford CEO Mark Fields said the company would like to avoid making marketing claims about being the first to achieve a certain goal, and is focussed instead on the project.
Testing commenced on an autonomous Ford Mondeo back in 2013 (see video), and Ford is continuing to fine-tune its prototype in anticipation of a road-going version in the years ahead.
Ford’s chief technical officer, Raj Nair, said that even current models have one eye on the autonomously-driven future, with technology such as lane assist and adaptive cruise control easily integrated into future self-driven cars.
The Sync2 infotainment system familiar to Ford customers is about to get an upgrade, with Ford officially launching Sync3 (previewed in December); making its way into Ford models overseas by the middle of this year.
The future autonomous car plans will form part of a wider vision for Ford, with the carmaker also announcing its ‘Smart Mobility Plan’ at the CES.
Smart Mobility aims to bring vehicle connectivity, data collection and autonomous features together in an all-encompassing Plan, aimed at meeting customer demands in future cars.
The program will begin with ‘global mobility experiments’ in 25 of the world’s major cities, focusing on the areas of car-sharing and integration with public transport among others.
Test cities include New York, Atlanta and London, along with six others in the US, seven others in Europe and seven in Asia.
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