Ford Files Patent for Autonomous Off-Road System

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Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford has a vision for a self-driving off-road adventure. And if things get too hairy, it can even kick you out (for safety)!

Ford (and every other automaker on the planet) has not hidden their intentions of building self-driving cars. But we’ve only thought of autonomous vehicles as those that navigate paved roads and city centers. That is, until now. Because Ford has filed a patent for a system that will allow vehicles to navigate all sorts of off-road obstacles. And it sounds pretty incredible.

For starters, the off-road autonomous system is able to determine whether or not it’s safe to traverse whatever obstacle might be in its way. Sensors and cameras collect the data, which send signals to a processor. If the system determines that it is safe to continue, it proceeds to make any necessary adjustments to the suspension settings. Even better, if the system determines that proceeding is safe but there is still a chance for a rollover, it’ll instruct the driver to exit the vehicle.

Yes, in the future, even your truck will have ability to kick you out. Just like your parents and spouse already do. And the system will know, via sensors and/or cameras, that you’ve exited. So you can’t fool it, either. And in case you’re worried that your way-too-smart Ford truck has gone off its rocker, you’ll be able to override the system via smartphone app.


The whole thing sounds like something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie, but it’s really just natural progression. After all, Ford already offers all sorts of technology assistance. From parking to trailer backup to active suspension and downhill descent. Now, your truck will be able to automatically detect things like the presence of rocks or a ditch, and adjust the ride height or driving mode automatically.


Purists will undoubtedly hate this new technology. But you have to imagine that it’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities. Especially for those who aren’t skilled off-roaders. And if you get stuck out in the middle of nowhere, it could be a life saver, too.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Brett Foote is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other sites.

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