DETROIT – William Clay Ford Jr. is convinced autonomous driving will integrate seamlessly with American roads in the coming years, and he views self-guided cars as a solution for many of the mobility challenges facing society.

“Ultimately I believe all forms of transportation will have to be as a single network, all talking to each other,” Ford’s executive chairman says in a question-and-answer session Monday at the ITS World Congress here at Cobo Center.

He sees many of the technologies necessary to enable self-guided cars, such as radar, cameras and crash-avoidance sensors, already appearing in production vehicles.

As the technologies evolve and consumers become more familiar with them, Ford says he doubts people will be surprised by the time vehicles ultimately pilot themselves down the highway or along city streets. Still, he concedes much work lies ahead.

“In autonomous driving, there are still pieces to be developed that have to be ready for prime time that aren’t quite ready yet,” he says. “But I believe it will happen, and all this will become seamless.”

Bill Ford says he witnessed an accident this week that drove home the point about the dangers of distracted driving, which should become less problematic in the era of cars on autopilot.

“A guy passed me on the road texting, and he hit a tree,” he tells the crowd. “It was awful to see; thankfully he was fine. Right now, you’ve got to have eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. It will be that way for awhile.”

His great-grandfather Henry Ford founded the namesake company and pioneered mass-production methods that launched the era of mobility by making cars affordable for the middle class.