Vehicle giant Ford has placed itself in the vanguard of any self-driving car revolution after it said it would begin mass production of computer controlled cars by 2021.
The ambitious timetable was outlined by president Mark Fields alongside a doubling of investment in its Palo Alto research centre in California and sizeable investments in related technology companies.
This is most likely to take the form of an Uber-style automated ride sharing service in which passengers are ferried to their destination in a steering wheel-less vehicle without the need for a driver.
Speaking to the BBC Fields said: “As you can imagine, the experience inside a vehicle where you don’t have to take control changes everything.
“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."
Ford is increasingly positioning itself as a provider of vehicle services in addition to direct sales to consumers.