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Third-Generation Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Test Vehicle Revealed

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Third-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Test Vehicle
The Third-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Test Vehicle
Photo: Ford Motor Company

In a post on Medium earlier this month, Argo AI President Peter Rander announced the launch of the third-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous test vehicle. The latest round of self-driving test vehicles puts Ford that much closer to bringing AVs to production and ensures greater safety for pedestrians and other motorists.

The third-gen test vehicles boast new sensors, radars, and higher-resolution cameras with dynamic range.

“When trying to see an object that’s very far away, a lower resolution camera may only be able to represent it as a pixel or two. But with higher resolution, you may be able to get a dozen pixels out of the same far away object,” writes Rander. “In concert with upgraded software, this means our vehicles are getting better at seeing what’s farther ahead and classifying what it is.”

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The new self-driving fleet will also get a new computing system with improved processing power, better thermal management, and redundant braking and steering that can take over in the event of unit failure. The result will be vehicles that are safer, smarter, and more passenger oriented.

Ford will test its third-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous test vehicle in Detroit as well as existing test cities Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, Miami, and Washington, D.C. Rander notes that Detroit will allow Ford and Argo AI to push its vehicles to the limit with wider and narrower roads, a higher frequency of unmarked lanes, residential hazards like low-hanging tree branches, and pop-up construction projects.

Ford plans to bring autonomous vehicles into production for commercial and fleet purposes by 2021 and to passenger vehicles by 2025.

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