The Next Challenge for Autonomous Vehicles? Winter!

By Admin | Posted in Ford, Ford Fusion, Technology on Thursday, March 10th, 2016 at 10:37 pm
Ford Autonomous Vehicle Snow Driving

We’ve written before about the advances that Ford has made in making a truly autonomous vehicle. While the testing that Ford autonomous vehicles will be doing on public roads in California later this year will likely not be plagued by ice and snow, that is the next challenge for autonomous vehicle testing :winter weather performance. Keep reading to learn more about Ford autonomous vehicle snow driving advances happening right now.

Ford Autonomous Vehicle Snow Driving

There are some key pieces to successful snow driving. We may be a while away from 100 percent autonomous driving in all situations, but we are getting closer every day to cars that can drive you anywhere you have been before. To compensate for blowing snow and white-out conditions, Ford autonomous vehicles use advanced LiDAR technology to map out the journey in advance so that they can have a responsive digital model of what the road conditions should be. Basically this means that while you may need to pilot your vehicle on the first couple days of your commute, the autonomous technology can take over after that, even in horrible ice and snow weather conditions.

Read More: Integrate Your Home and Your Car with SYNC and Amazon Echo

Interesting Facts About Ford Autonomous Vehicle Technology

Ford Autonomous vehicle in the snow

  • The Ford autonomous vehicles don’t use GPS (which is only accurate to about 10 yards) to navigate. Instead, they use extremely sensitive LiDAR technology and visual and radar sensors.
  • The LiDAR sensors on tricked-out 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles are sensitive enough to actually sense rain, snow and ice. The vehicle actually has to be calibrated to know that it doesn’t have to dodge every raindrop (the way it would a pedestrian or other vehicle).
  • The autonomous vehicle uses up to 600 gigs per hour to calculate a 3D map of its environment and how it should move in real time. That’s more data than the usual cellphone user needs in 10 years!
  • Each Ford autonomous vehicle uses multiple sensors (including cameras, LiDAR, and radar) to monitor the environment. All that information is then gathered and processed in a central area called the sensor fusion to provide 360-degree situational awareness for the vehicle.

Here at Akins Ford, we are very excited about the future of Ford autonomous vehicle snow driving and in other bad weather situations. Keep watching this blog for the latest updates as we get them.