Ford’s New Driverless Test Car Highlights Rate Of Technological Advancements

Wed, Dec 28, 2016 1,090

Technological innovations, which used to take years to develop, now take just months to go from concept to production. Nowhere is this more true than in the automotive industry.

Case in point: The next-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle.

Ford debuted the second incarnation of its self-driving test mule Wednesday ahead of its first public appearances at the Consumer Electronics Show and North American International Auto Show in January. The new development vehicle utilizes the same autonomous vehicle platform as before, but has more processing power and electrical controls that are almost considered production-ready.

The Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle’s biggest improvement compared to its predecessor is the integration of new LiDAR sensors. Ford adjusted things such as the sensors’ locations to give them a more targeted field of vision.

As a result, the next-gen car can record as much data with two sensors as the outgoing model could with four. For perspective, Ford debuted the first development vehicle three years ago, meaning that’s roughly a 33.3 percent increase in sensor efficiency per year.

With that rate of progress, we have little doubt Ford can meet its goal of producing a high-volume car with Level 4 autonomous-driving capabilities by 2021.

Thumbnail photo via Ford