Timeline: The future of driverless cars, from Audi to Volvo

Just three years ago, autonomous cars seemed like a pipe dream relegated to a far-off decade in the future. But then, last week, Ford announced that in 2021 it's planning to release an autonomous car without a steering wheel, brake or throttle pedals, designed for ride-sharing. Just a few days later, Volvo and Uber made public their partnership to develop a driverless car. Now, it seems autonomous cars aren't just a fanciful future prospect but rather something tangible — and a real part of mobility in the near future. The Ford and Volvo/Uber announcements, though, highlight the different approaches each company working on autonomous driving technology is taking. For example, some, like Audi, are introducing autonomous systems slowly into their products to indoctrinate their buyers to the tech. Others, like Ford, are jumping straight to driverless cars.

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