Ford accelerates autonomous tech testing and Smart Mobility research
Just a day after Kia and Hyundia announced they would begin testing autonomous driving technologies on public roads for the first time, Ford has followed suit. The carmaker has been awarded a license for testing in California, US. It is described as a "a key element" of Ford's Smart Mobility plan.
That plan, announced at CES at the beginning of this year, is aimed at taking Ford "to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics." It goes hand-in-hand with the company's 10-year plan for developing autonomous vehicles.
The testing will use fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans and will take place at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto. Since opening in January, Ford says the center has grown to become one of the largest automotive research centers in Silicon Valley, with over 100 researchers, engineers and scientists, many having joined from the technology sector.
This year, the Center has undertaken an "Autonomous Vehicle Virtual Test Drive" study replicating real-world interaction between an autonomous car and pedestrians to better understand and develop responses for those situations, has researched sensors for autonomous vehicles and fusing together the information multiple sensors provide and has worked on camera-based pedestrian detection.
In addition to its work at the Research and Innovation Center, Ford says it will continue its collaborations with the University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Santa Clara and San Jose State, as well as develop its strategic research collaboration with Stanford. It has 13 projects planned for 2016 across the five areas of Ford Smart Mobility, which is more than double the number of collaborations from this year.
Ford's will begin testing its autonomous driving technology on California's public roads from next year.
The video below shows Ford's Autonomous Vehicle Virtual Test Drive.
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Stop playing around in sunny California, come up north to test with real winter elements, and humans, animals, and thousands of other possibilities on real roads, potholes, & assholes.
Yeah there real serious on this fad to have self driving vehicles.
I wonder how hard it would be able to reproduce their pedestrian test inside of a GTA 5 mod.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to go out in your car without the worry of some speed or traffic light camera to spoil it for you and even get your licence taken away because you know that the car simply won't let you speed or jump a light?
Actually, I would prefer driver assist to leave the steering to the 'driver'. That way they would have to be sufficiently alert to not only spot the rare black swan (such as a sink hole that is already almost full of other autonomous cars) but do something about it. One thing we can be sure of is that it is unlikely that an autonomous car will regard the circumstance with anything other than an open mouth, albeit a metaphorical one.
Mel...this will work. Humans have limited abilities of observation and are easily distracted. In 10 years or less a car will have more awareness about and abilities to respond to changes in road conditions, traffic (do you know what's going on at a bend in front of you or 10 cars in front of you?), weather or anticipate the unexpected. Once all cars are connected most of the unexpected and erratic human behaviors can be negated (the car won't allow you to turn in too close to someone in the lane next to you). Humans can't communicate with other drivers on the road, not too mention all the drivers in their vicinity to indicate intent. Networked cars will be able too.
Until they get hacked....yawn. It will still be much safer than human drivers.