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Ford's self-driving cars for employees will be a game-changer in 2018

Ford Motor held a huge seminar on automotive trends in Dearborn, Michigan. As part of the presentation, the automaker announced that it plans to have self-driving vehicles as shuttles for employees on the Ford campus by 2018.

In a video about the self-driving car plans, President and CEO Mark Fields says “We see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did more than a hundred years ago.”

Ford announced, in August, that it intends to have self-driving cars available for ride sharing by 2021. In that scenario, the vehicles will supposedly be driverless taxis. Ford has been testing the self-driving technology for more than a decade. It currently has fleets of the autonomous vehicles being tested in California, Arizona and Michigan. Other videos in the presentation show the routes that the vehicles, in this case Ford Fusions, will take around the Ford complex.

Executives also talked about the investments in shuttle services and mobility. This week-end, Ford announced that it purchased a shuttle service called Chariot, in San Francisco. The auto giant is also expanding its bike-sharing programs called FordGoBikes. Graphics explained how Ford sees these investments solving future traffic congestion.

Using a young woman named Amanda as an example, Ford suggested that if she ran into traffic issues, she could easily park her vehicle and opt for either a shuttle service, or a FordGoBike to travel the last mile to her destination. Ford has invested heavily in apps that will make drivers more connected, giving them real time traffic and navigation information. In the future, the apps will also inform drivers about the other options like shuttles and bike sharing locations near them.

Other carmakers are also experimenting with the self-driving technology. Tesla has been the most vocal perhaps because of accidents that involved the autopilot technology. Mercedes is aggressively testing the autonomous technology in California.