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Ford to triple Fusion Hybrid test vehicles fleet

DUBAI, January 5, 2016

Ford is set to triple its fleet of fully autonomous Fusion Hybrid test vehicles, making it the largest in the automotive industry.
 
It will use a new generation of cutting-edge sensor technology as the company further accelerates its autonomous vehicle development plans, said a statement.
 
This year, Ford will add an additional 20 Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles, bringing the company's autonomous fleet to about 30 vehicles being tested on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.
 
Raj Nair, executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer, said: “Using the most advanced technology and expanding our test fleet are clear signs of our commitment to make autonomous vehicles available for millions of people – not just the elite.
 
“With more autonomous vehicles on the road, we are accelerating the development of software algorithms that serve to make our vehicles even smarter.”
 
Building on more than a decade of Ford’s autonomous vehicle research, this expansion will be a key element of Ford Smart Mobility – the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics.
 
The newest vehicles are on Ford’s third-generation autonomous vehicle development platform, built using Fusion Hybrid sedans, similar to the second-generation platform.
 
Ford recently announced that its fully autonomous cars will take to the streets of California this year. The company already tests autonomous vehicles at its proving grounds, as well as on public roads in Michigan. Ford also was the first automaker to test a fully autonomous vehicle at Mcity – a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan.
 
Meanwhile, the automaker is now using Velodyne’s newest LiDAR sensors – named Solid-State Hybrid (SH) Ultra PUCK Auto for its hockey puck-like size and shape – on its third-generation autonomous vehicle platform.
 
SH Ultra PUCK Auto sensors boast a longer range of 200 meters, making it the first auto-specific Solid-State Hybrid LiDAR sensor capable of handling different driving scenarios. 
 
The Ultra Puck will accelerate the development and validation of Ford’s 'virtual driver' software which serves as the decision-making brain that directs vehicle systems.
 
Jim McBride, Ford's technical leader for autonomous vehicles, said: "Adding the latest generation of computers and sensors, including the smaller and more affordable SH Ultra PUCK Auto sensors, brings Ford ever closer to having a fully autonomous vehicle ready for production.”
 
The third-generation autonomous Fusion Hybrid sedans will have redundant features and duplicate wiring for many systems, including throttle, steering and brakes. These redundancies will act as backups, if needed, the statement added. - TradeArabia News Service



Tags: Ford | vehicle | Testing | Sensor | autonomous |

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