Stepping on the gas could soon be a thing of the past — as well as hitting the brakes, or getting behind the wheel altogether. Ford has announced its plan to develop fully autonomous cars by 2021.
The company sees fully autonomous cars as having "as big of an impact on society" as its moving assembly lines did a century ago, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said in a press conference yesterday. "A driver is not going to be required." Ford's invested in or partnered with several startups, including self-driving tech company Velodyne, machine learning company SAIPS, machine vision company Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC, and 3-D mapping startup Civil Maps, Recode reports.
Ford is part of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a lobbying coalition alongside Google, Lyft, Uber, and Volvo, that operates under the belief that full autonomy is safer than partial autonomy. They've gone on the record to tsk-tsk partially autonomous vehicle control like Tesla's Autopilot, as the coalition counsel David Strickland told Fortune, "Every manufacturer has a responsibility to address foreseeable uses."
Watch Fields' full statement, and see some swooping footage of a mock-up car that we're meant to imagine is driving itself in the not-too-distant future: