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Tue 25 Feb 2014 03:19 PM

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Ford moves closer to self-driving cars with high-tech reveal

High-tech car could go on sale in Middle East later this year after Barcelona unveiling

Ford moves closer to self-driving cars with high-tech reveal

US automotive giant Ford has moved a step closer to self-driving cars with the unveiling of its latest Ford Focus, boasting a number of high-tech features.

The latest model of the car, which could go on sale in the Middle East later this year, was revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The new Focus's cutting-edge technology includes hands-free parallel parking, voice recognition and sensors that automatically apply brakes if the vehicle gets too close to another car.

"These are all the building blocks for building an even more technologically advanced car in the future," said Stephen Odell, vice president of Ford for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Odell added that with 4bn cars forecast to be on roads globally by 2050, it was essential for cars to move towards self-driving.

"If we do nothing we could get global gridlock," he added. "We're now exploring the possibility of autonomous vehicle technology."

The latest edition of the world's best-selling car, which is based on technology known as 'Sync', also includes a system that automatically warns drivers when another vehicle is in their blindspot and offers 'hands-free' parking in a number of scenarios.

Odell said that Ford was also working to develop even more advanced technology that would provide drivers with large-scale, 3D mapping, as well as sharing traffic data with other drivers.

Further details of the new Focus are expected to be revealed at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, with the car expected to hit the market this summer.

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