Ford has said it will mass-produce a fully autonomous self-driving car without a steering wheel by 2021.

The bold ambition was outlined by the company’s president, Mark Fields, at an event in Palo Alto, California.

Ford said it would double its investment in its research centre in the city, as well as making sizable investments in technology companies in the autonomy industry.

The firm said the car would be in use by customers by 2021.

It said this was most likely as part of an Uber-like ride-sharing service – but one that doesn’t require a human driver.

“As you can imagine, the experience inside a vehicle where you don’t have to take control changes everything,” said Mr Fields, in an interview with the BBC.

“Whether you want to do work, whether you want entertainment… those are the types of things we are thinking about as we design the experience for this type of autonomous vehicle.”

The announcement, described as “transformational” by Mr Fields, signalled an era when Ford sees itself, particularly in cities, as a company that provides an ad-hoc service rather than focusing solely on selling the cars to the general public.

bbc.com

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