Ford expanding on-road testing of self-driving Fusion Hybrid in Detroit

Ford is expanding the on-road testing footprint of its third-generation self-driving vehicle called the Fusion Hybrid in Detroit, Michigan. The car is already positioned in Palo Alto, Miami, Washington DC, Pittsburgh and Ford’s own homeland Dearborn, Michigan.  

In November of last year, The Verge’s Andrew Hawkins went for a drive in a previous-gen model in Miami. He was pleasantly surprised to see that the car could handle a variety of traffic situations.

Peter Rander, the president of Argo Al, wrote, “Every city represents a unique opportunity to make our self-driving system smarter because of the exposure to different road infrastructure design, driving behavior and even traffic light placement.” Argo Al is Ford’s startup aimed at leading the development of its self-driving cars. He attributed the project’s progress on the collective knowledge that they had gained by operating in five different locations.

Rander wrote of a variety of improvements in the new, third-gen vehicles, turning it into an overall smarter, more comfortable vehicle. The vehicles are outfitted with new technology that is closer to production specification and also focuses on safety through an array of situations. The car comes with high-res cameras and upgraded software that allows the vehicle to see better from far away.

Rander wrote that the vehicles have “a brand-new computing system” which offers greater processing power than their previous cars and improved thermal systems that generate less heat and noise inside the car. The vehicle has added safety measures such as “ “redundant braking and steering systems” which serve to maintain vehicle motion control in the case that one of the units stops functioning.

According to Rander, Ford can find almost every kind of road one can expect to see in Detroit from wide roads with unmarked lanes to narrower residential roads with overhanging trees. Detroit also offers a geographical advantage due to its proximity to Corktown, Ford’s base for self-driving vehicle development.  

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