Ford has secured a California autonomous vehicle driving permit to begin testing fully autonomous Fusion Hybrid cars on public roads next year.
This is part of the manufacturer's 10-year autonomous vehicle development program and a key element of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto is one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in the region, with a team of more than 100 engineers and scientists.
The new research lab opened in January, expanding Ford’s presence in Silicon Valley, which dates back to 2012.
“Our Palo Alto team has grown significantly this year, using research and innovation to explore and develop future mobility solutions,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO.
“We’re attracting top talent from around the world to join our team in Silicon Valley, including employees from local technology companies and universities who want to make people’s lives better by changing the way the world moves.”
Ford has expanded its Silicon Valley facility from a 15-person office to a research and development center with over 100 staff.
Research that has been conducted there this past year includes:
- Autonomous vehicle virtual test driveThis study allows virtual interaction between an autonomous car and pedestrians, replicating real-world situations to better understand and develop responses
- Sensor fusion: Sensors on autonomous vehicles detect and track objects in the vehicle’s view, combing information together to provide a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings – including street signs, other vehicles and pedestrians
- Camera-based pedestrian detection: Camera sensors serve as the eyes of a vehicle, allowing the car to “see” pedestrians
- Data-driven health care: Through data collection from Ranger pickups and motorcycles fitted with Open XC technology, Ford is working with Riders for Health to collect GPS data and mapping coordinates to make health care, vaccines and medication delivery to people throughout rural Africa more efficient and accessible/