Ford pushes forward driverless tech
Volvo's at it, Google's at it, Mercedes-Benz and BMW can't be far behind... and neither is Ford, as the US company has just announced it is tripling its fleet of research vehicles in order to bring the autonomous car one step closer to reality.
Making the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Ford said 20 more self-driving Fusion Hybrids would be added to the ten already in service during the course of 2016, in order to accelerate the development of its virtual driver software in both urban and extra-urban environments.
The autonomous Fords are testing on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan, with Raj Nair, Ford's executive vice-president for global product development and its chief technical officer, saying: "Using the most advanced technology and expanding our test fleet are clear signs of our commitment to make autonomous vehicles available for millions of people. With more autonomous vehicles on the road, we are accelerating the development of software algorithms that serve to make our vehicles even smarter."
The new Fusions will use Velodyne's advanced new Solid-State Hybrid Ultra Puck Auto sensor, which is said to be precise enough for 'mapping and creating accurate, real-time 3D models of the surrounding environment, enhancing Ford's software development and testing to handle a broader range of driving scenarios'.
While the fully autonomous car is still some years away from public use yet, this sort of development work allows Ford to deliver more semi-autonomous driver assist systems to customers today, such as adaptive cruise control, active park assist, lane departure warning, lane-keeping aid, pedestrian detection, Pro Trailer Backup Assist and vehicle-to-vehicle connection technology.
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