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MIT and Stanford Auto Research to Aid Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle

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MIT and Stanford Auto Research

Ford Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle

Ford will be teaming up with engineers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University to expand upon the example set last month by the Automated Ford Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle and find new ways to solve some of the potential problems facing the future of automated driving.

The Fusion Hybrid research vehicle builds upon technology already present in Ford vehicles that can be found in dealerships, only adding four LiDAR sensors in order to create a real-time 3D map of the vehicle’s surroundings.  This is where MIT and Stanford auto research will come into play: Ford’s research with MIT will utilize algorithms to predict where pedestrians and vehicles may be, allowing future Ford vehicles to have a better sense of the road through artificial intelligence.

Stanford’s research will focus on conditioning the LiDAR sensors to see around obstructions much in the same way that a driver would peak around a semi blocking their view of traffic ahead.  This will create a better ability to avoid obstacles that would be otherwise unseen or unexpected.MIT and Stanford Auto Research

“Our goal is to provide the vehicle with common sense,” said Greg Stevens, global manager for driver assistance and active safety, Ford research and innovation, in a statement. “Drivers are good at using the cues around them to predict what will happen next, and they know that what you can’t see is often as important as what you can see.  Our goal in working with MIT and Stanford is to bring a similar type of intuition to the vehicle.”

The idea of automated driving is a significant component of Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility, first outlined in 2012.  A number of automakers have already promised fully autonomous driving by the year 2020, and Ford’s advances with MIT and Stanford auto research could very well put them at the head of the pack when the dust settles.