Published on December 17th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair


Ford To Begin Autonomous Vehicle Testing On California Roads

Fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicles are taking to California streets next year, as Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto continues to grow.

Ford is officially enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. This is part of Ford’s 10-year autonomous vehicle development program and a key element of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics.


Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto is one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in the region,with a team of more than 100 engineers and scientists. The new research lab opened in January, expanding Ford’s presence in Silicon Valley, which dates back to 2012.

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Eighty per cent of the Palo Alto team joined Ford from the technology sector. The remaining 20 per cent are Ford employees from the United States, China, Germany and Australia who bring automotive engineering and design expertise.


Ford has expanded its Silicon Valley facility from a 15-person office to a research and development center with over 100 staff.
This study allows virtual interaction between an autonomous car and pedestrians, replicating real-world situations to better understand and develop responses. Sensors on autonomous vehicles detect and track objects in the vehicle’s view, combing information together to provide a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings – including street signs, other vehicles and pedestrians.  Camera sensors serve as the eyes of a vehicle, allowing the car to “see” pedestrians


Through data collection from Ranger pickups and motorcycles fitted with OpenXC technology, Ford is working with Riders for Health to collect GPS data and mapping coordinates to make health care, vaccines and medication delivery to people throughout rural Africa more efficient and accessible

Ford has developed relationships with top universities this year, including University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Santa Clara and San Jose State. The company is further expanding its strategic research collaboration with Stanford in 2016, planning 13 projects covering all five areas of Ford Smart Mobility – more than double the number of collaborations this year.


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