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Between now and the middle of this century, analysts predict that the world's vehicle population will quadruple, going from around one billion today to four billion by 2050. To keep perpetual, global gridlock at bay and reduce consumption, automakers and communication providers have to team up, and that's exactly what Bill Ford Jr. proposed on Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Under the banner "Blueprint for Mobility," the great-grandson of Henry Ford detailed what it will take to make congestion-free motoring (or at least congestion-controlled) a reality in the coming decades, utilizing a combination of connected cars, connected roadways and a totally revamped mobile infrastructure.

"If we do nothing, we face the prospect of 'global gridlock', a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources and even compromises the flow of commerce and healthcare," Ford told the assembled masses in Spain.

Ford's proposal comes in three parts - near-term (5-7 years), mid-term (2017-2025) and long-term (2025 and beyond) - with the first part requiring the development and deployment of vehicle-to-vehicle warning systems, "limited autonomous functions" (think next-gen adaptive cruise control) and the expansion of car sharing programs like ZipCar.

Mid-term solutions range from semi-autonomous vehicles to new city car models that carry between one and three passengers, while long-term proposals include a range of intermodal transportation networks that combine individually owned cars with public transportation, fully autonomous vehicles and a constantly connected road network that uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication and road trains.

It's all ambitious stuff and echoes much of what we've heard from other automakers, including Audi, BMW and General Motors, who have all announced plans to move beyond being a standard automaker and instead become "mobility providers." Get the full details on Ford's proposal in the official release after the jump.Continue reading Bill Ford Jr. outlines future of mobility at MWC

Bill Ford Jr. outlines future of mobility at MWC originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Feb 2012 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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