Ford unveils electric autonomous F-Vision semi concept
Ford has unveiled a new concept heavy-duty truck at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 show in Hannover, Germany. The F-Vision concept is a large commercial truck that combines future propulsion and clean energy with autonomous driving. The F-Vision was designed and prototyped by Ford's Turkish design center.
The F-Vision is a level 4 autonomous truck – meaning it can drive itself without any human interaction – and is compliant with the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council's autonomous drive road plan for heavy commercial vehicles. It's designed to be self-driving as needed (it can also be controlled by an onboard human driver) as well as zero-emissions, with a battery-electric drivetrain.
The design inspiration for the F-Vision truck, Ford's designers say, comes from comic book characters. It's made to adapt to its environment through smart materials. For instance, windows can automatically tint to counteract the sun's brightness, plus they can raise and lower to maximize or minimize the driver's view of their surroundings. Window tint colors are matched to the body, giving the truck a "machine-like" look.
The design of the front of the F-Vision can be altered as well. This creates an illusion of infinite design options for the truck, fitting the user's (or owner's) mood. A single door on the curb side of the truck allows entry and egress, plus the F-Vision has an automated link to its trailer for communication and interaction.
The active aerodynamic structure of the F-Vision concept and its patented trailer hitching system allows a close connection and minimal gap between cab and trailer when at highway speeds. This creates a more streamlined, integrated structure that's also quieter on the road. The driver can additionally choose to "platoon" with other trucks, adding even more safety to the autonomous drive.
Ford Trucks states that it is envisioning a future where humans and machines interact closely, and autonomous trucks work with their drivers rather than instead of them.