‘In Two Years, Drivers will Have the Ability to Take Eyes off the Road’

Ford Motor Co. is gearing up to revolutionize the driving experience in the United States in just two years. Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley announced that the company will introduce technology that allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road.

“We’re getting really close,” Farley stated in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We can do it fairly regularly now with a prototype, but the next step forward will be to do it in a way that is cost-effective.”

Ford aims to start selling this capability in 2026, potentially making it the first mass-market vehicle brand to offer Level 3 autonomy. This means the car will handle driving duties, giving the driver the freedom to focus on other tasks.

“In a few years, level 3 autonomy will enable you to take your hands off the wheel on a highway, turning your car into an office,” Farley explained. “You could conduct a conference call and various other activities.”

While similar hands-free driving features are currently available on Ford and other cars, safety concerns have been raised following tragic collisions involving semi-autonomous systems. Ford’s BlueCruise technology is under scrutiny by US safety inspectors, along with systems from other companies like Tesla Inc.

Less than two years after Ford closed its autonomous subsidiary Argo AI, claiming that complete self-driving technology was still too far off, Farley made his prediction. Mercedes-Benz has already introduced an eyes-off option in the US, but it is currently limited to freeway use at speeds under 40 mph. Ford plans to take it a step further by potentially allowing drivers to use their system on highways at speeds up to 80 mph, but only in clear weather conditions.

Ford also has plans to offer subscription fees for features like BlueCruise to generate recurring revenue. Farley believes that high-margin software services will help mitigate the boom and bust cycles in the auto industry. The future of driving is rapidly evolving, and Ford is at the forefront of this innovation.