Ford has officially unveiled their Fusion Hybrid Automated Research Vehicle.
Jointly developed with State Farm and the University of Michigan, the research vehicle is a prototype that will be used to test current and future sensing systems as well as driver assist technologies. Ford says the goal is to "advance development of new technologies with its supplier partners so these features can be applied to the company’s next generation of vehicles."
Ford didn't have much to say about the car itself but confirmed it uses four LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) sensors that scan the road 2.5 million times per second. The sensors bounce infrared light off everything within 200 feet (61 meters) to generate a 3D map of the surrounding environment. This map is then used to drive the vehicle and ensure it doesn't hit anything.
In a statement, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said “The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility. We see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and the world around them to make driving safer, ease traffic congestion and sustain the environment. By doing this, Ford is set to have an even greater impact in our next 100 years than we did in our first 100.”