Ford: B-Max ushering in age of driverless cars

Ford company executive chairman Bill Ford says cars from 2025 onwards will be capable of ‘fully autonomous navigation’, meaning they will be capable of driving and parking themselves as part of a futuristic network of transport.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress, Ford says this will help with ‘crippling congestion’ on the roads as the number of cars worldwide is set to increase four-fold from one billion to four billion by 2050.

They will do this by including a huge range of sensors and automatic avoidance and breaking systems, says Ford.

He explained: “”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 mid-term period because the early versions are already being designed, and in most cases, tested.”

However, he also explained how these technologies would ‘complement’ personal car ownership, hinting at future cars still offering some sort of driver-car interactivity.

Ford was speaking a day after Ford announced its SYNC software would appear in the new Ford B-Max, the brand’s latest compact people carrier.

Based on the new Ford Fiesta, the taller, more spacious Ford B-Max comes with unique side-sliding doors to improve access and will be the first UK model to offer SYNC software.

The technology includes voice-activated commands for mobile phones, sound systems and satellite navigation. It also includes safety aids such as the ability to park on its own and to stop the car at low speeds if it senses a collision is imminent.

Ford hopes to expand the technology to 3.5 million European cars by 2015, it has revealed.

The new Ford B-Max will be revealed next week at the Geneva Motor Show. Full specification and prices will be released at later date. It is expected to arrive in UK Ford dealerships in September.