Remember when you were a kid watching the Jetsons (ok well maybe some of you don’t) and their flying cars that just took them wherever – or Knight Rider when Kitt took over and just drove around itself? It all seemed so far out there, like it was too far out there to ever be a reality. Well, seems like self-driving cars isn’t that far out there afterall. We might just see the future sooner than we thought.
This all comes up in a presentation by Bill Ford Jr. the great-grandson of car pioneer Henry Ford. His points were made to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He said that we could be putting our vehicles on auto pilot within the next 10 years. TEN YEARS! I don’t know whether to be excited or scared!
He believes that it will happen in three stages.
Near-term – In the next five years, he said vehicles will be equipped with car-to-car warning systems and will be able to drive themselves in slow traffic and even park themselves.
Mid-term – Between 2017 and 2025, Ford believes cars will have the technology to reduce the role of the driver markedly, and that many automobiles will be at least semi-autonomous. He also talked of “vehicle platooning” whereby vehicles proceed pretty much bumper to bumper through the use of car-mounted sensors. This will improve safety and save space on roads which will by that time be busier than ever.
Long-term – At some point from 2025, Ford said he expected that many vehicles will be fully autonomous.
Now there is no telling when these will actually roll out in Waldorf, or when they will be available in Ford vehicles. But if the push for technology by Bill Ford Jr and Alan Mulally is any indication of the future, Ford will be on the cutting edge and one of the first to put these into production.