Autonomous Vehicles

Imagine... a future when your vehicle has decision-making “brains” and an ability to “see” the world in real-time 3D, helping you anticipate different scenarios and making you a better driver. One day, in the right environment, vehicles could even become self-driving.

Better, Safer Driving for Everyone

Our vision is for autonomous vehicles, combined with vehicle connectivity, to be available for everyone and not just a select few. For the elderly, cars with semi-autonomous features or cars that can drive themselves could mean a longer driving life, greater independence and more social interaction.

Ford is already using cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors to deliver features available on millions of our vehicles today. These include adaptive cruise control, active park assist, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping aid, pedestrian detection, and Pro Trailer Backup Assist.

Progress Against Our Plan

We’re accelerating our 10-year autonomous vehicle program and tripling our fleet of fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid test vehicles to take development to the next level.

In 2015, we secured the permit to begin testing the fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid on California public roads, adding to the on-road testing underway in Michigan and Arizona. With more autonomous vehicles on the road in more environments, we can accelerate the development of software to make our vehicles even smarter.

In another advancement, Velodyne’s newest LiDAR sensors will be built into our third generation of test vehicles. The Solid-State Hybrid Ultra PUCK sensors are small enough to fit into the sideview mirror and with a longer range of 200 meters they are the first auto-specific LiDAR sensors capable of handling different driving scenarios.

Autonomous Vehicle Testing in Real-World Conditions

To develop vehicles that deliver high levels of performance, rigorous testing in real-world scenarios is essential and Ford is collaborating with the University of Michigan on a solution that even allows an autonomous vehicle to “see” on a snow-covered road.

The industry-first snow testing is taking place at Mcity – a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University. Our autonomous vehicles are equipped with high-resolution 3D maps – complete with information about the road and what’s above it, including road markings, signs, geography, landmarks and topography.

“Maps developed by other companies don’t always work in snow-covered landscapes. The maps we created with Ford contain useful information about the 3D environment around the car, allowing the vehicle to localize even with a blanket of snow covering the ground.”

Ryan Eustice
Associate Professor, University of Michigan College of Engineering