Testing

Ford Dabbles with Autonomous Driving

Ford unveils Fusion Hybrid automated driving research vehicle as it looks to a driverless future.

Carmakers predict autonomous driving will become a reality in the next ten years. In automotive terms, that's only about two vehicle generations away. So the race is on to get the technology developed now. Ford is the latest carmaker to reveal its progress with its Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle that forms part of its Blueprint for Mobility, which outlines its vision of driverless cars over the next decade. "The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility.

We see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and the world around them to make driving safer, ease traffic congestion and sustain the environment," said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford.

Jointly developed with the University of Michigan and State Farm, the prototype will test new and future sensing systems and driver assist technologies. Ford says the vehicles uses four LiDAR sensors (Light Detection And Ranging) that scan the road 2.5 million times per second. Infrared light bounces off anything within a 200 feet radius, generating a 3D map of the car's surrounding environment. That map enables the car to drive itself and ensures it doesn't hit anything. Even at maximum range, the sensors can detect the difference between a paper bag and small animal, as well as observing and classifying pedestrians, cyclists and stationary objects.

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