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Ford Announces Plan to Have Automated Driverless Cars on the Road by 2021

by • August 16, 2016 • No Comments

3dp_ford_logoA lot can take place in five years, alyet that amount of time appears to fly past these days. 2011 appears approximately disturbingly new, so 2021 can as well be just around the corner – that manufactures Ford‘s assertion that they can have automated, driverless vehicles on the road by that time in fact crazier to ponder of. Despite the fact that several worthwhile car developers, which include Ford, have been developing and testing driverless cars lately, the innovation is yet a thing that appears quite far away, in terms of in fact seeing it in use in most cases. Now that Ford has given an actual, relatively near-future date for the full implementation of driverless innovation, it’s suddenly much additional real.

Don’t begin saving to buy a new automated car just yet, yet. Ford won’t be selling their vehicles to the average consumer for a while; instead, they plan to commence them as part of an automated ride-sharing system: Uber without drivers. The cars can be SAE Level 4 autonomous – one of the top levels in a grading system based on how much of a vehicle’s function is automated. Level 4 is described as “high automation,” meaning that it won’t in fact include a steering wheel or pedals; all that is required of a human passenger is inputting the destination.

Roadmap to Automation

Ford is quite serious of the 2021 goal; the company plans to double the number of employees at their research and development facility, as well as adding two new buildings and 150,000 square feet of lab space to their Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto. They’ve in addition invested a lot of cash may already, which include $75 million in major LiDAR (Light, Detection and Ranging) innovation developer Velodyne.

Velodyne_LiDAR_logoLiDAR is one of the major technologies that manufactures driverless cars work – it’s how the cars “see” what’s around them. Laser-based sensors, combined with hard algorithms, system data of the car’s surroundings and turn it into high-resolution digital 3D images utilized for mapping and localization, object identification and collision prin facttion. Velodyne is responsible for a few of the sharpest LiDAR innovation out there, capable of building anywhere of 300,000 to 2.2 million data points per 2nd with a range of up to 200 meters and centimeter-level accuracy, building it a favourite one of developers of autonomous vehicles.

“From the quite beginning of our autonomous vehicle program, we saw LiDAR as key enabler due to its sensing capabilities and how it complements radar and cameras,” said Raj Nair, Ford Executive Vice President, Product Development and Chief Technical Officer. “Ford has a long-standing relationship with Velodyne and our investment is a clear sign of our dedication to building autonomous vehicles on the market for consumers around the world.”


Ford’s autonomous Fusion Hybrid research vehicle

Ford is not the just one with eyes on Velodyne: Chinese search engine provider Baidu, Inc. has in addition invested $75 million in the LiDAR company. Essentially the Google of China, Baidu is working on their own driverless car innovation, and is may already testing an autonomous swift – as are most companies, which include Uber itself. It is a competitive race to be the initially company to get driverless cars on the road, so it manufactures sense that Ford is so drastically multiplying their efforts.

160816-ford-autonomous-2-630x413Those efforts include an investment in 3D mapping company Civil Maps and a partnership with Cornell-based machine vision organization Nirenberg Neuroscience. They’ve in addition acquired Israeli desktop vision and machine learning company SAIPS. In addition, Ford is tripling the dimensions of their autonomous research swift, with plans to triple it again following year.

“The following decade can be described by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as worthwhile an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Mark Fields, Ford President and CEO. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of folks – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”

The 2021 goal is part of the larger Ford Smart Mobility plan, that aims to manufacture Ford the leader in not just autonomous vehicles, but in addition in data and analytics, connectivity and mobility. Discuss additional in the Ford Driverless Cars forum over at 3DPB.com.