Ford, Stanford & MIT Teams Up for Autonomous Driving Research
Ford Corporation (FC) has announced their collaboration with Stanford University (SU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to overcome “technical challenges” in developing a fully autonomous driving car.
Mark Fields, chief operations officer for FC said: “In the long term, we see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and with the world around them to improve safety, reduce traffic congestion and achieve major environmental benefits. It is likely to bring fully autonomous navigation and parking.”
The Ford Fusion Hybrid, still a research car, “can operate on its own with the supervision of a driver.”
This autonomous car uses sonar sensors to bounce sound waves from objects to judge distance and size; while also differentiating between people, inanimate objects and other possible dangers found on the road.
FC will use MIT researchers to build software to anticipate other vehicles, pedestrians, and ensure the car’s ability to make a safe path from one destination to another.
SU will contribute sensor technology that will allow the car to “see” and maneuver around obstacles.
Greg Stevens, global manager for research at FC commented: “Drivers are good at using the cues around them to predict what will happen next and they know that what you can’t see is often as important as what you can see. Our goal in working with MIT and Stanford is to bring a similar type of intuition to the vehicle.”
Last December, FC released a new Fusion Hybrid that is more autonomously automatized out of visualizations for a future of driverless cars.
Under the Blueprint for Mobility (BFM), by 2050 “75 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, with 50 of those cities projected to have more than 10 million residents.”
The vision Ford wants to introduce involved a blend of “smart transportation with intelligent vehicles and transport systems . . . [where] private car, commercial and public transportation are all connected in ways that save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety.”
Both the University of Michigan and State Farm have collaborated with Ford to develop this prototype that has “four LiDAR sensors (Light Detection And Ranging) that scan the road 2.5 million times per second. Infrared light bounces off anything within a 200 feet radius, generating a 3D map of the car’s surrounding environment.”
This technology enables the car to “drive itself and ensures it doesn’t hit anything. Even at maximum range, the sensors can detect the difference between a paper bag and small animal, as well as observing and classifying pedestrians, cyclists and stationary objects.”