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Ford expands autonomous vehicle tests with new self-driving prototype

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Ford expands autonomous vehicle tests with new self-driving prototype


An employee walks past a Ford logo in the yet-to-be-completed engine production line at a Ford factory on January 13, 2015 in Dagenham, England.

Carl Court | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ford Motor is staying close to home to test its latest generation of autonomous vehicle technology.

The automaker and Argo AI have deployed their latest self-driving test vehicle in Detroit, making it the fifth city where the companies are seeing how their autonomous vehicles handle a variety of conditions.

“Bringing these vehicles to Detroit in addition to our other test cities gives us the opportunity to learn how they operate in yet another environment,” Argo AI President Peter Rander said in a post on Medium.

Argo and Ford are already testing self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, California, Miami and Washington, D.C.

Ford will not say how many of its third-generation autonomous test vehicles will be driving around Detroit. Each autonomous car, a modified Ford Fusion Hybrid, will have a safety driver behind the wheel and a co-pilot in the front passenger seat monitoring the vehicle’s performance.

The cars will also have an upgraded set of sensors and higher resolution cameras to be able to see and identify objects that are further away. Rander said the modified Ford Fusions will also feature redundant systems to “help ensure our vehicles can continue operating safely in the event that something unexpected occurs.”

While this Fusion is Ford’s third generation autonomous vehicle, it is unlikely to be its last before the company rolls out its first fully autonomous vehicle for commercial use. That is scheduled to happen in 2021. Ford expects that model will be used by ride-hailing companies, package delivery companies and other businesses.


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