Ford Ramps Up Autonomous-Drive Projects

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Ford Fusion

Is a Self-Driving F-150 on the Horizon Over at Ford? Here are All the Current Details Direct from the Blue Oval

The talk of the automotive world right now is autonomous drive, and Ford is not going to let the rest of the world pass them by in the development of this tech. As 2016 came to a close, Ford added 20 new LIDAR-equipped self-driving Ford Fusion hybrid sedans to their autonomous fleet, expanding self-driving operations in their Michigan, Arizona, and California test facilities. This new iteration of the project uses two pillar-mounted LIDAR sensors instead of the quartet of roof-mounted sensors of the previous generation’s technology. This no-driver-needed Fusion also features a “roof rack” fitted with cameras and a myriad of sensors built into the bodywork to help the car’s computers determine where it is in relation to other objects.

As reported by CNN, Ford is planning to launch completely autonomous driving vehicles for public consumption by 2021, and this car is a big step in that direction. Ford’s smaller short term goal is to attempt to make autonomous cars look more like a “normal” car, incorporating the self-driving tech more seamlessly. For the most part, aside from a few minor protrusions, this Fusion looks like a normal Fusion. Across 2017, Ford is looking to add an additional 60 autonomous vehicles to its fleet, hoping to have their cars on public roads to gain real-world experience. It would only make sense for Ford to continue this development with their most popular selling pickup truck.

If a self-driving Ford F-150 was to be launched in the 2020s, would you be interested in purchasing one? This could particularly be an interesting development for people who drive long distances and require a vehicle that can carry a significant load. If you’re hauling heavy equipment around the country and you have to spend 10 hours trucking across the Iowa and Nebraska cornfields of I-80, would you prefer to let the computers do the work, or would you prefer to have full control? Sound off in the forums!

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Bradley Brownell is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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