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Ford Reveals Self-Driving Escape Hybrid Test Vehicle

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Ford self-driving Hybrid Escape Argo AI
Ford reveals the new Escape Hybrid self-driving test vehicle
Photo: Ford

Ford Motor Company launches its autonomous vehicle commercial service in 2022, and it now has its vehicle of choice in place. The self-driving Ford Escape Hybrid replaces the Fusion as the AV test vehicle of choice for generation four. Ford plans to launch its AV commercial services by 2022.

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In a post on Medium earlier this month, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC Chief Engineer John Davis revealed the fourth-gen AV test vehicle and offered an update on its progress.

“The systems we’re incorporating into our newest test vehicles are ‘launch-intent’ in terms of the components we believe will be needed to support commercialization,” Davis writes. “What this means is that with a well-defined architecture and platform in the Escape Hybrid, our team can continuously test and refine performance over the coming years to better prepare us for launch. Everything we learn while using them can be channeled directly into our self-driving service as soon as it starts serving customers.”

Features of the new self-driving Ford Escape Hybrid

Key upgrades included in Ford’s fourth-gen AV test mules include the latest version of LiDAR. The self-driving Ford Escape Hybrid features an all-new, long-range system with higher-resolution cameras and a full 360-degree field of view. With near-field cameras and short-range LiDAR, the sensing suite makes the Escape Hybrid more aware of its surroundings.

Driving the Escape Hybrid AV is an advanced liquid-cool underfloor battery that ensures power for its hardware. Ford has also improved its camera-cleaning capabilities with more spray nozzles and improved hydrophobic coating.  

Ford self-driving Hybrid Escape Argo AI
Next-gen Ford Escape Hybrid AV features new LiDAR, better camera cleaning
Photo: Ford

Davis says that Ford will begin deploying the self-driving Escape Hybrid test vehicles in the near future. These vehicles will test alongside the third-gen Fusion AVs in Ford’s key test cities, which include Austin, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Miami, Florida; Palo Alto, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C.

Ford had planned to launch its AV commercial services in 2021, but it pushed the timeline back approximately six months due to COVID-19.

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