Ford's CEO Jim Hackett has thrown cold water over the prospect of self-driving cars being made commercially viable anytime soon. There has been too much hype over their availability, he claimed at a Detroit Economic Club meeting this week.

Bloomberg reports that, while Ford's first self-driving vehicle is still expected for 2021, Hackett has downplayed its impact: "We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles," he said.

The company's first car's "applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex."

However, he also stated that when the technology and infrastructure is finally ready for autonomous cars to hit roads globally, it will ultimately "change the world".

"When we break through, it will change the way your toothpaste is delivered," he added.

"Logistics and ride structures and cities all get redesigned. I won’t be in charge of Ford when this is going on, but I see it clearly.

"When we bring this thing to market, it’s going to be really powerful."

Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles since 2015/16, where it revealed it was the first to trial the technology on snow-covered roads.

It has since entered talks with rival manufacturer Volkswagen to combine forces on future electric vehicles and driverless cars.