Self-driving Ford Fusion at night
Autonomous cars are no longer limited to the imaginations of science fiction writers or blockbuster movie directors. This technology is the way of the future. Ford continues to push the envelope when it comes to self-driving cars. Recently, the automaker began testing out the self-driving Ford Fusion in wintry conditions, and now the innovators at Ford are testing out the self-driving Ford Fusion at night. Keep reading for more details and a demonstration video!
Autonomous Ford Fusion nighttime testing
It is a pitch black, calm, quiet Arizona night. The sun has set, and the stars have come out in a shimmery display, like a vast black canvas speckled with glitter. This is the scene of the latest testing for the autonomous Ford Fusion. In order to ensure that the latest self-driving car can work in all conditions drivers face, Ford wanted to see how it could navigate the darkness. Nighttime driving can prove more dangerous, because obstacles easily seen in daylight don’t show up as well—or at all—in darkness. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that the fatality rate of passengers inside vehicles during traffic accidents nearly triples at night compared with accidents during the daytime hours. If self-driving vehicles are to become our reality, it is important that they work at night. Watch a demonstration of this autonomous Ford Fusion testing below.
Self-driving Ford Fusion night vision
“Inside the car, I could feel it moving, but when I looked out the window, I only saw darkness. As I rode in the back seat, I was following the car’s progression in real time using computer monitoring. Sure enough, it stayed precisely on track along those winding roads.” – Wayne Williams, research scientist and engineer for Ford.
So how does it work? Ford’s self-driving cars use high-resolution 3D maps, which include information about the road, road markings, geography, topography, plus landmarks such as signs, buildings, and trees. LiDAR, a kind of laser radar located on the car, fires out pulses to pinpoint its location on the map in real time, then uses that information to steer itself across the landscape as it would during the daytime.
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