Autonomous cars are less than a decade away, according top Ford brass.
Wait, let's back up. Nearly all the major automakers are working on self-driving cars, from Volvo and Mercedes to Toyota and Honda, the future is supposedly clear as day.
Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] recently announced it will launch a fully autonomous car in five years. That's right, no steering wheel, brake pedal, or gas pedal. The catch? You can't buy that car. It will be used in what will essentially be a ride-share service along predetermined routes.
Why? Because it's going to feature Level 4 autonomy that eliminates the need for a driver, but the car is limited to where it can go. You need to reach Level 5 for there to be no driver and be able to also go anywhere.
Now, Ford CEO Mark Fields says it will actually sell consumers a self-driving car by about 2025.
According to Bloomberg, Fields said "around mid-decade we'll make vehicles available for people to purchase for themselves." He continued with, "we're dedicated to putting autonomous vehicles on the road for millions of people, not just those who can afford luxury cars."
If you didn't catch that list bit, it was a dig at the luxury automakers that are also working on and promoting autonomous cars. That list includes basically every luxury marque you can think of including the Germans (Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW), the Japanese, (Acura, Infiniti Lexus), and even the Americans (Cadillac). Of course, we can't forget the Swedes with Volvo.
Ford, like every other automaker, is known as a car company, but has tried to change that. Whether its a transportation company, tech company, or mobility company, the reality is that Ford's future inescapably linked with building cars. That said, vehicles today have more technology than ever, and it will only play a larger role as time marches on.
If you are waiting for your self-driving Ford F-150 to drive around the job site and drop things off for your men, well, we probably have a ways to go.
But it's clear, automakers, including Ford, are serious about bringing autonomous vehicles to the consumer market.