Bill Ford Jr, head of Ford Motor Company, thinks over the next decade, there'll be fleets of autopilot cars cruising the highways around the world. That would be no surprise considering the work going into making autonomous vehicles already. Google is already operating autonomous cars that use GPS and a host of sensors to navigate freely from point to point with no human interaction.
According to Mr. Ford, fleets of these autopilot cars could be on the road as early as 2017. These autonomous cars are being looked at as more than just a convenience for drivers, they're also being looked at as a way to reduce traffic congestion on highways and even to reduce distracted driving fatalities. The number of cars on the nation's highways is expected to rise from 1 billion to 4 billion by 2050 leading to more congestion. Mr. Ford talked about the future autonomous vehicles at Mobile World Congress, and sees three phases to the rollout of autonomous vehicles.
Within the next seven years, he expects cars to have integrated warning systems and functions for autopilot driving in slow traffic. Between 2017 and 2025, he expects semi-autonomous driving with more interaction between cars and then by 2025, the fully autonomous vehicles will roam the roads.
"Cars are becoming mobile communications platforms. Right now, there are a billion computing devices in the form of individual vehicles out on our roads," he said, according to the Daily Mail.
"They’re largely unconnected from one another and the network. We’ll increasingly take advantage of the car as a rolling collection of sensors to reduce congestion and help prevent accidents.
"I’m confident that we will see many of these advances on the road in this midterm period (between 2017 and 2025) because the early versions are already being designed, and in most cases, tested."