Ford has registered two patents for a system that would let you steer an autonomous car remotely using your smartphone.
You would then have two options. If you selected the first, Ford’s app would display a virtual steering wheel on the screen, which you could control with your finger (like Pierce Brosnan’s ‘futuristic’ BMW in Tomorrow Never Dies). If you picked the second, the app would ask you to hold your phone level, then allow you to turn the car’s wheel by tilting it to the right or left.
Whichever you chose, the car would still be in charge of acceleration and braking. You’ll only be able to control the car’s direction – which could be handy for driving in places that aren’t let fully mapped.
Ford is investing heavily in self-driving vehicles, and made its autonomous car division a separate company earlier this year. At the time, the company’s executives said they believed the self-driving car market would soon be dominated by just a handful of companies, and wanted to make sure it was in with a shot.
“Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said the company’s CEO Jim Hackett. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.”