Ford Looks To Transportation Future With ‘Smart Mobility’
Ford states Smart Mobility is designed to “take it to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data”.
The 25 experiments address “four global megatrends”, which Ford outlines as: explosive population growth, an expanding middle class, air quality and public health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities, which are “challenging today’s transportation model and limiting personal mobility, especially in urban areas”.
“We see a world where vehicles talk to one another, drivers and vehicles communicate with the city infrastructure to relieve congestion, and people routinely share vehicles or multiple forms of transportation for their daily commute,” commented Ford president and CEO Mark Fields.
“The experiments we’re undertaking today will lead to an all-new model of transportation and mobility within the next 10 years and beyond.”
Looking to a future of autonomous vehicles, Ford states its fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle is undergoing road testing, employing the same semi-autonomous technology used in Ford vehicles today, and adding four LiDAR sensors to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment.
The vehicle senses objects around it using the LiDAR sensors, using advanced algorithms to help it learn to predict where vehicles and pedestrians might move.
“We’re already manufacturing and selling semi-autonomous vehicles that use software and sensors to steer into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, adjust speed based on traffic flow or apply the brakes in an emergency,” commented Ford chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development, Raj Nair.
“There will be a Ford autonomous vehicle in the future, and we take putting one on the road very seriously.”
Ford is also displaying its recently released Sync 3 in-dash communications and entertainment system at CES, which will begin arriving in vehicles this year.