Ford will start testing their self-driving cars in California at the dawn of 2016. The company’s Ford Fusion Hybrid will begin to roam the streets of the San Francisco Bay region in January, now it’s just confined to a closed course, according to Los Angeles Times.
The renowned automaker joins Nissan, Toyota, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and Google – companies which have received permits from the state of California to road test self-driving cars on byways and highways.
A fleet of self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans will be seen next year in Silicon Valley. The Michigan-based company has chosen the northern region because it’s riddled with hilly roads, there is a massive number of motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians, and most important of all – it’s under California’s road laws.
The founder of Ford’s self-driving cars program, James McBride, has announced that there will be a robot car operator that will constantly monitor the driving controls, as well as a system expert who will observe how the vehicle’s sensors react and function throughout the drive.
According to USA Today, Ford will first exhaustively test their self-driving car’s sensors, and they will begin to log autonomous miles in the second half of 2016. The Ford Fusion Hybrid will also be put to tests and experiments inside the company’s very own driverless car testing facility, located at the University of Michigan.
However, before the car manufacturer jumps on the road with driverless vehicles, the company needs to create very detailed routes and maps. Doing so, Ford will first focus on short-term issues such as children running across the road after the traditional ball, or debris found in the middle of the lane.
The Fusion Hybrid comes packed with 360-degrees cameras in order to give a full field of vision.
Ford is keen on developing a Level 4 autonomous vehicle in the near future – a car that doesn’t need any input from the driver, soon to be passenger, and it can avoid the situations mentioned above.
Ford has employed over 100 scientists and engineers to fix issues with fuel efficiency and other safety concerns. They are all laboring at the company’s Research & Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California.
Below, you’ll find the driverless Ford Fusion Hybrid roaming the roads of Mcity:
Google prefers a different kind of approach when it comes to self-driving cars. They aren’t improving their current models by adding new features. Instead, they have formed an alliance with other automakers such as Lexus, in order to build a vehicle that doesn’t require any human interference.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid first met the world in 2013, but this isn’t the only mobility experiment the company is currently undergoing. Ford is working on developing e-bicyles, and the automaker has announced a service, which is similar to Uber, to help employees get to work faster.
Image Source: 1