Ford recently unveiled their new version of the self-driving car at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
This is already the Mark II version – the first was fitted with double the number of sensors and the car had a distinctly alien look to it. Now, though, if this passed you in the street, you’d have to look twice to see that it was different.
Aside from what FoMoCo want us to know – sensors, technology, look etc, information regarding the new car is scarce, but this is what we DO know.
When we see it on public roads
We know that Ford wants the new Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicle to be publicly available in 2021. We expect to see a few more launch type events at some of the bigger shows – auto shows and CES, and then Ford will make the vehicle available late in 2020, as a 2021 Model Year.
The question of price
We can’t even hazard a guess at the price; it’s an all-new vehicle, with brand new technology, constantly being adapted, evolved and upgraded.
OK, so it won’t cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it’ll be more than thirty, but that really is about as far as we get.
Ford Self-Driving Car Tech
The self-driving car will be built on the Fusion Hybrid platform, in fact, the current test model looks remarkably similar to a standard Fusion, aside from a few extra bits of tech fitted.
The current crop of vehicles are already on test in California, Arizona, and Michigan, but Ford has stated that the United Kingdom and Germany are next on the list to get test vehicles, of which Ford hope to have about 90 by the end of 2017.
The biggest news is that the LIDAR system has been significantly updated, and the number of sensors has been halved thanks to that. Last year, Ford & Baidu (a Chinese web giant) invested $150 m in Velodyne, the company that manufactures the LIDAR system. Chris Brewer, Chief Engineer on Ford’s Autonomous program says that the car now ‘sees’ two football fields of distance in every direction – the system generates over one terabyte of data every single hour.
The current autonomous vehicle is capable of SAE Level 4 autonomy; effectively being fully autonomous in a set geographic location – like a college campus for example, whereas the full production model in 2021 will be capable of SAE Level 5 – full autonomy anywhere.