There are several companies putting a lot of money and time into developing technology for automated vehicles.Clearly, automated cars will offer quite a lot of potential for various uses, ranging from military transport to helping drivers navigate on congested highways with fewer accidents and less wasted time.
As you may recall, Google is one industry heavyweight that has been testing automated vehicles for a while now. However, when it comes to the actual automotive industry, Ford probably has a better finger on the pulse of what the future will bring compared to a technology company like Google.
Indeed, Bill Ford Junior - the head of Ford Motor Company - recently told Mobile World Congress attendees that we could see the first vehicles equipped with an autopilot of sorts within the next decade. Ford also outlined his vision for the future of automated vehicles, stating that within the next seven years cars will be equipped with warning systems and feature that will ultimately allow for the insertion of an autopilot feature in slow traffic.
Further down the road between 2017 and 2025, Ford expects to see vehicles that are semi-autonomous with a consideranble amount of interaction between vehicles - allowing for safer roads and less congestion. He predicts that after 2025, we will see fully autonomous vehicles cruising the streets, meaning, a driver wouldn't need to do anything at all to navigate from point A to point B, except to enter GPS coordinates.
Personally, I see fully autonomous vehicles as both good and bad. Yes, a fully autonomous vehicle is probably one of the only ways we're going to ever cut down on distracted driving. However, the last thing I want to see is the government mandate a fully automated vehicle as a safety precaution - effectively taking the act of driving out of the hands of those of us that enjoy driving on public roads.