Ford to Unveil Latest Autonomous Vehicle at CES

Ford today announced its upgraded autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicle will make its debut next week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The latest version of Ford’s self-driving car uses the company’s current autonomous vehicle platform, but has increased processing power and new computer hardware.

“This new development vehicle brings Ford a step closer in its commitment to offer a fully autonomous vehicle in 2021 for ride-sharing and ride-hailing services,” Ford autonomous vehicle development chief program engineer Chris Brewer said in a blog post. “For now, the car still comes with a steering wheel and pedals — equipment our ride-sharing vehicles ultimately won’t include.”

Aside from the upgraded autonomous vehicle platform, the virtual driver system is the key element in making a vehicle truly autonomous.

The virtual driver system is composed of sensors, including LiDAR, cameras and radar; algorithms for localization and path planning, computer vision and machine learning and detailed 3D maps as well as computational and electronics horsepower to make it all work.

“Electrical controls are closer to production-ready, and adjustments to the sensor technology, including placement, allow the car to better see what’s around it,” Brewer said. “New LiDAR sensors have a sleeker design and more targeted field of vision, which enables the car to now use just two sensors rather than four, while still getting just as much data.”

Brewer said Ford still has “a lot more to do,” including expanding its fleet and accelerating the real-world testing already occurring on Michigan, California and Arizona roads. Ford is planning to grow the fleet even more, tripling its size to about 90 cars in the new year.



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