BREAKING: Self-Driving Ford F-150 Caught Testing

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F-150

This F-150 boasts a state-of-the-art LiDAR system previously seen on other Ford vehicles, as well as multiple cameras & sensors.

As we previously shared with you, an F-150 hybrid is coming soon, and with it a tidal wave of new technologies that will rocket America’s best-selling vehicle into the future. Ford Truck Enthusiasts is now bringing you a glimpse of these forward-thinking technologies with exclusive spy photos snapped outside Ford’s Research and Development campus in Dearborn, Michigan.

What you see here is a 2017 Ford F-150 SuperCrew decked out with the following self-driving gear:

  • A Velodyne “Puck” LiDAR, which is the industry’s most capable compact sensor.
  • Dual video cameras, which aid the laser and LiDAR in building a real-life image profile of the objects nearby.
  • Laser and radar sensors, which are commonly found in current Ford vehicles equipped with smart cruise control.
  • Towing mirrors, which could’ve been installed to house additional sensors, or to teach sensors to adapt to aftermarket applications which may alter the vehicle’s stock dimensions.

F-150

F-150

As you’d imagine, it’s this first piece of equipment that really gives away Ford’s intentions. The Lidar’s job is to build a 3D image of objects and elements surrounding the self-driving vehicle. These could range from another vehicle, a human, to even a snowflake – as all of these would have to be taken into consideration to dictate the vehicle’s behavior and actions.

While most F-150 owners enjoy driving their trucks, the benefits of a self-driving F-150 are many. Imagine relaxing during rush hour while allowing the truck to do all the annoying stopping and going, only for you to take over when it’s time for your favorite stretch of scenic road?

F-150

What about folks who haul/tow during long distances for work? Could self-driving capabilities allow transport drivers to become less fatigued and be more productive? Lastly, if a driver with a particular health condition were to become ill behind the wheel, could a self-driving F-150 maneuver itself to safety and even contact emergency services?

It’s still too early to see where this early prototype is headed, but that being said, it’s only a matter of time until the first self-driving F-150 rolls off the line.

Will you be an early adopter?

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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