CES 2015: Ford CEO Predicts a Self-Driving Car in Five Years

Jan 07, 2015 10:48 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Self-driving car technology could be as close as five years from now, but American automaker Ford won't necessarily be leading the charge.

The sensors, cameras, software and algorithms needed for autonomous capability are developing quickly, CEO Mark Fields said in a Bloomberg TV interview this week at CES.

"It's moving very, very fast," Fields told Bloomberg. "So our view is that within five years somewhere in the industry, someone will introduce the vehicle."

But that first self-driving car likely won't come from Ford, which emphasizes affordability over fancy technology that will probably be only available for the wealthiest customers at first.

"We want to make sure [autonomous technology] is accessible and affordable for the masses because we're Ford," Fields said.

Like many others in the industry, the Dearborn, Mich.-based carmaker has already been implementing auto-pilot systems such as lane departure warning and automatic adjusting for speed into its vehicles.

Fields had a diplomatic reply when Bloomberg TV asked him about possibly partnering with Google, which has been developing its own self-driving offering.

"I think it will be very collaborative," Fields said of the autonomous vehicle field.

Ford has fully autonomous test vehicles on the road, some of which have been driving since 2013, for research and data work, Fields told Bloomberg TV.

In his keynote on Tuesday, Fields emphasized Ford's connected cars and future plans for autonomous vehicles. Ford is demonstrating Sync 3, its latest in-car system, at this year's CES. 

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