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Ford Is Ready for the Autonomous Car. Are Drivers?

An SUV with cameras and sensors sits as Princeton University students with PAVE (Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering) prepare it to operate driverless.
An SUV with cameras and sensors sits as Princeton University students with PAVE (Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering) prepare it to operate driverless.Photograph by Mel Evans/AP Photo

The auto industry has already developed all the technology necessary to create truly autonomous vehicles, Ford engineers claim. The reasons there aren’t driverless cars all over the road today is in part a cost issue—the sensors and automated intelligence required aren’t cheap—but mainly one of driver mindset. Your typical commuter isn’t quite ready to take the sizable leap from cruise control to completely automated driving.

“There is no technology barrier from going where we are now to the autonomous car,” said Jim McBride, a Ford Research and Innovation technical expert who specializes in autonomous vehicle technologies. “There are affordability issues, but the big barrier to overcome is customer acceptance.”