Ford moves closer to autonomous vehicles
Ford Motor Co. is inching closer to autonomous vehicles.
The Dearborn automaker on Tuesday said it’s moved from the “test” phase to the “advanced engineering” phase of its driverless car program — the last stage before producing and selling vehicles. Ford has appointed a director of autonomous vehicle development — Randy Visintainer — and created a global team to work on the advanced program.
“During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup to help make our roads safer and continue to increase automated driving capability,” Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development, said in a statement.
Ford’s new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California, is working on driverless car technology. Earlier this year, Ford donated a Fusion Hybrid to Stanford University’s engineering program to test driverless car algorithms.
CEO Mark Fields has said he expects some automaker to invent a fully autonomous vehicle within five years. But don’t expect that automaker to be Ford.
“To be clear, our priority at Ford is not in making marketing claims or being in a race for the first autonomous car on the road,” Fields said in January. “Our priority is in making the first Ford autonomous vehicle accessible to the masses and truly enhancing our customers’ lives.”
Ford made other technology news Tuesday, including:
■Its pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection technology, already available on the Ford Mondeo in Europe, will be available in the United States next year on a Ford-brand vehicle. This continues Ford’s plan to roll out the feature on most Ford products globally by 2019.
■It is partnering with Carbon3D to print parts like bumpers and grommets.
■The automaker has developed a smartwatch app to check the driving range and battery charge for their plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle quickly.
■Ford will introduce new camera technology that can help see around corners by displaying a 180-degree view of the area in front of or behind a vehicle. Ford introduced split-view on the 2015 Ford Edge and 2016 Explorer.
■The next Super Duty truck will offer up to seven cameras for lane-keeping and to see more angles around a truck and trailer than ever before.