right Now Ford is testing a Fusion (Mondeo) Hybrid in the US, soon to be 30, and you will get to 90 in 2017
Ford is working on what will be the largest revolution of private transport since the production of the Model T. We traveled to the CES Las Vegas 2015, where the manufacturer announced its intentions to be the leader in autonomous cars, connectivity, technology, etc., To the beginning of the year was inaugurated a technical centre in Silicon Valley with a staff of 125 engineers and researchers.
But the ambitions of Ford in these fields are not precisely new. Only on autonomous cars Ford has been working for a decade, we have to agree to those competitions, which was funded by the DARPA, dependent Department of Defense (equivalent to the Ministry of Defense) to stimulate the development of autonomous cars. I am referring to the Grand Challenge (big challenge) and Urban Challenge (urban challenge).
By then, autonomous cars were very clumsy, desorientaban with ease, and were basically the cars are crammed with computers, sensors and enormous that they could, more or less, to get around without a driver in environments closed to traffic. Those competitions DARPA began to bear fruit. Currently the prototypes are able to move in the traffic, although a human drivers will aware of everything.
Prototypes of autonomous cars have already rolled before 2010, but they were very rudimentary. Image Urban Challenge, 2007, at a base area that was similar to a population. The cars must respect the rules of traffic to get to your destination
next-hop driving autonomous is a model that does not need a driver human for nothing, that is to say a Level 4 automation according to SAE. For this to be possible, the cars should be tested and programmed for any type of scenario and condition weather, since that will not be the joker in the driver-human.
The first generations of these vehicles are going to be very expensive, because they require many sensors, hardware specialized and a lot of money in development. Therefore, to be accessible, the manufacturers have thought of sharing. In other words, will be like taxis, going around and taking people from one site to another, so that the business makes sense. That will be a reality in 2021.
later it will make sense to have them in the property, to move to people who do not have the ability to drive due to old age, or to take children to school, or disabled. Democratization will come with the years, when the mass production of components driving autonomous allow reasonable prices. Until then, the formula shared is imposed.
Ford works with a number of specialized firms, universities, technological centres, etc have just announced four collaborations with companies that will contribute to the dream of the autonomous car:
- Velodyne: supplier of sensors LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) who investigated with Ford to democratize this technology
- SAIPS: is an israeli company specialized with vision computerized and algorithms, that Ford is going to acquire. The goal is for the car to “see” and “learn” from the environment by themselves
- Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC: company neuroscientist who works exclusively for Ford – in machine vision, both for people and for vehicles
- Civil Maps: a pioneer in the creation of mapping three-dimensional in which Ford has invested. The goal is for the cars to go by mapping the world and to be oriented in it although the conventional signals have disappeared (as in nevada)
All of these unions -and many more – come to Ford to achieve the milestones we aspire to. The competition is very close. Tesla and Mercedes-Benz are already on the street cars, in certain conditions, can drive alone, under the supervision of a human. The systems are learning as they are used, and it is perfect. Ford wants a system 100% self-contained that does not rely on human, it will not work if you are mature only at 98%. technology is an overwhelming challenge.
The engineers in Palo Alto are working on many fronts: interface man/machine (design of dashboard, voice controls), driving simulators, connectivity, external, user experience, assists the driving, etc The cars have ceased to be a simple car.
To the end of 2017 will be working in Palo Alto more than 250 engineers and researchers. Ford account that the development of technologies and services is picking up by being in a centre as important for innovation as Silicon Valley. They are currently working with 40 companies to innovative technology or start-ups.
But Palo Alto is just one of over 10 centers that have the Ford across the world for research, innovation, engineering and computer science; it is simply the most modern. competition of Ford is not asleep, you have manufacturers (like Tesla), technology (like Apple), suppliers (such as Continental), etc
The future of the car is knocking on the door, is already here.