Ford Plans To Make Autonomous Ride-Sharing Vehicles Available By 2021

For the last several years carmakers have worked to perfect their self-driving vehicles as a way to prepare consumers for the inevitable robot revolution and to beat their competitors to the punch. Today, Ford announced a timeline for when its fully autonomous ride-sharing vehicle will hit the market, picking up passengers at the drop of a hat. Spoiler alert: It’s in five years. 

The car, which the manufacturer plans to have hit the market by 2021, will be the first not to have a steering wheel, accelerator, or brake pedals, Ford announced Tuesday. 

Ford says the vehicle is being specifically designed for commercial mobility services, such as ride sharing and ride hailing, and will be available in high volumes.

“The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, said in a statement. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”

The vehicle will be considerd a Level 4 self-driving car under the Society of Automotive Engineers’ standards for autonomous features in automobiles. A Level 4 vehicle is one that is completely self-driven, as opposed to lower levels that refer to features like parking assist and automatic emergency braking that involve the car taking action on its own, but still require a driver for operation.

While the Level 4 designation generally means the vehicle can drive itself just about anywhere, like on freeways and traffic jams, Ford says it will only allow the car to travel in predetermined areas mapped with high-definition 3D technology.

This means that while passengers won’t have to lift a finger, or step on a brake, they won’t be able to take that dream road trip, either.

Details on the actual car have yet to be determined, Ford says, noting that it could be an SUV, sedan, or hatchback.

Additionally, Mashable reports that it’s unclear if the car will run on electricity or gasoline.

[via Mashable]