The autonomous vehicle it seems are something coming our way whether we them or not. And Ford it appears is leading American brands in developing this future technology.

In Dearborn and in the Silicon Valley at their Research and Innovation Center at Palo Alto, Ford has embarked heavily into developing, researching, and proving out autonomous driving cars – not to be left behind by foreign brands.

And before you think pie-in-the sky, keep in mind that the hardware to make our cars fully autonomous already exists in them, which operates features like parking assist, lane keeping and adaptive cruise control.

These features are enabled by radar sensors in bumpers, cameras, GPS, and hardware like electric power steering, drive-by wire throttles, and ABS brake system controllers. The only thing missing for full autonomous driving is software to bring it all together.

As seen here at the Dearborn proving grounds, Ford’s autonomous driving technology is now in what they call the second of three phases in the timeline of bringing it to market. Their advanced engineering team is now tasked with making sensing and computing systems feasible for production.

Because society may not be ready for a fully autonomous driving car, manufacturers like Ford are rolling out the technology one feature at a time with things like pre-collision assist which will automatically brake for obstacles if you don’t. This coming to most Ford cars in the next few years.

Ford says driver-assist features like these are part of the building blocks for increasingly capable semi-autonomous technology and as they enhance the sensors, algorithms and actuators in vehicles they can ultimately offer fully automated driving systems.

I appreciate progress but I’m still a bit uneasy with the idea of handing my life over to my car’s better instincts, let alone driving with the masses who are also doing the same. This genie however, is out of the bottle now.