Visions of the Future

Photo: Autoweek via Ford

Photo: Autoweek via Ford

When you daydream, do you still imagine the future? Do you gaze forward and wonder what will be? Do you remember all those books and films that dared to predict what our lives would be like, how the world would change? Some are more optimistic than others, some hoped for a cleaner, brighter world, where we would want to be together with our friends or family, and in moments it would be so. In every instance of utopic vision, transit has always been solved by swift, efficient means. Even more than celerity, these methods of movement have autonomy.

Do you still dream?

Ford does.

This week Ford revealed the results of a research project spanning more than a decade. Together, in partnership with the University of Michigan and State Farm insurance, they have been developing a system designed to enable autonomous driving.

Mounted on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, this system uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to scan the vehicle’s surroundings more than 2.5 million times a second. The four sensors bounce infrared light off of everything within two hundred feet of the car to create a highly detailed three-dimensional map. In this way, the car will be able to sense all movement and obstacles in its immediate vicinity, experiencing a full three hundred and sixty degrees of simultaneous vision where a human can only see one direction. It is this system that will enable cars to make their own decisions and avoid accidents.

Self-driving vehicles are seeing a rise in interest, with technologies like self-parking vehicles, collision detection, and blind-spot monitoring already in place in cars across all makes and models. Ford sees these technologies as stepping stones, and LiDAR is the next step toward the company’s vision of fully-automated driving. Many questions remain unanswered in order for that vision to become a reality, but Ford is dedicated to answering them.

Read more and watch the video of LiDAR in action on Autoweek, and tell us what your dreams of the future are by leaving a comment, emailing us at comments@leithmail.com, or talking to us at Leith Ford.

Visions of the Future was last modified: February 9th, 2016 by Leith Ford

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