Ford has begun testing autonomous vehicle technology in North America, with the hope of implementing the tech to its road cars by 2025. The manufacturer has teamed up with the University of Michigan and State Farm to conduct the research, forming part of Ford’s ‘Blueprint for Mobility’ plan.
The Ford Fusion test car – sold as the Mondeo in the UK – has been fitted with the latest sensor systems and driving-assist technologies. With enough development, Ford’s goal is to have these technologies available for the next-generation of vehicles in 2025.
“The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “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. By doing this, Ford is set to have an even greater impact in our next 100 years than we did in our first 100.”
Equipped with LiDAR (light detection and range), the Fusion is able to scan the road ahead 2.5 millions times per second, which generates a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment. The sensors are able to detect any object dense enough to redirect light and accurate enough to tell the difference between a paper bag and a small animal at great distances.
Ford isn’t the first manufacturer to announce the development of autonomous driving technologies. Both Nissan and Mercedes hope to have autonomous cars on sale by 2020, with Volvo already applying the technology to its new SPA architecture, which will first underpin the new XC90 due next year.