There's a lot of debate over when—and whether—self-driving cars will hit the road. Elon Musk says six years. Volvo says three. However, some of the features of self-driving cars are already in action. And with Ford's announcement that its sedans will sport pedestrian detection technology starting next year, there are about to be a lot more cars sporting autonomous tech.

Pedestrian detection is nothing new. Volvo made it available as an add-on back in 2011, and others have followed suit in years since. The fact that Ford will be adding it to a relatively cheap sedan is good news that the technology is finally hitting the mainstream.

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Specifically, Ford will offer pedestrian technology on the Mondeo sedan in Europe starting next year. The system uses a combination of radar and cameras to spot pedestrians and will alert the driver if someone (or thing) is in the way. If the driver doesn't brake, the car will stop automagically. There are limitations to the system, as well. It only works if the car is going less than 50 miles per hour and, according to Ford, "in daylight and clear weather conditions."

So that's a start. From there, the motor company hopes to add other self-driving features to all of its cars. Some Ford cars already have lane departure prevention and automated parking. Now with pedestrian detection, the company that made the Model T may be on its way to the self-driving future we've been promised. [Tech Review]

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