Ford to Offer Advanced Sensor System Designed for Autonomous Driving

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Dearborn-based Ford Motor Co. will use an advanced driver assistance system that offers sensing range up to more than 600 feet for the development of its autonomous vehicles.

Velodyne Acoustics Inc., a California-based developer of sensing technologies, developed the sensor. Pricing for the 3-D LiDAR (laser and radar) sensors is less than $500 per unit in automotive mass production qualities, and are small enough to fit inside front-door side mirrors.

“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,” says Raj Nair, chief technical officer and group vice president of global product development at Ford. “There will be a Ford autonomous vehicle in the future, and we take putting one on the road very seriously.”

In November, Ford became the first automaker to test an autonomous vehicle at the University of Michigan’s M City, a simulated urban environment. The autonomous vehicle used Velodyne’s 3-D LiDAR sensors.

Additionally, the automaker is working with AT&T to connect more than 10 million customers to Ford Sync Connect within the next five years.

“Vehicle owners want the convenience that comes with being connected at home and on the go,” Nair says. “With Sync Connect, we are able to provide features and services that make the car an even more seamless part of our customers’ connected lifestyles.”

Nair says Sync Connect offers drivers the ability to remotely lock and unlock doors, locate their parked car, remotely start a vehicle, and view vehicle information such as fuel and battery levels.

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