When you think of autonomous cars, you might think of big names in tech like Google, Tesla, Apple, and even ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, but the mass-market autonomous car of the future may be made by the same automaker that created the car sitting in your driveway.
That’s because familiar American car companies like Ford and General Motors are also getting in on the development of self-driving vehicles.
Image Source: The Drive
Raising The Level Of Autonomy
Ford is currently working on level-four autonomous vehicles. This level of autonomy refers to vehicles that operate with almost no human intervention.
Unlike most autonomous cars being tested on the road today—which still seat a human driver in front of a steering wheel and brakes—level-four vehicles require none of these controls. The vehicle is operated entirely by software advanced enough to respond to any situation on the road.
Years Of Research And Development Ahead
Don’t get ready to look for a self-driving car at your local Ford dealership anytime too soon, however. The technology still needs years of research and development.
Ford’s VP of research, Ken Washington has said that the general public should expect fully autonomous vehicles available for purchase no earlier than 2026—or even into the early 2030s.
While the company is working on fully autonomous vehicles that may be unveiled as early as 2021, they aren’t likely to be available for private purchase until at least five years after that.
Image Source: Automotive News
A Race For New And Well-Known Automakers
While that seems like a while a way, it’s a real race for Ford and many other traditional automakers. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Nissan and other automakers are all reported to be contenders for top spots in tomorrow’s autonomous vehicle market.
These companies are seeing steep competition from newer tech-based developers, and the drive to reach the top first is likely to get tougher and tougher over the next five to ten years.
Would you prefer to ride in an autonomous vehicle or even purchase one from a familiar name like Ford, GM or Nissan?
What major autonomous vehicle milestones are you expecting to see in the next decade?
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