Ford in North America are testing new autonomous driving technologies on a Ford Fusion (new Ford Mondeo in the UK), planning for self-drive cars by 2025.
Car makers are starting to take self-driving, autonomous cars very seriously, and we’ve recently seen Mercedes testing their autonomous driving S-Class in Berlin, Volvo planning a big trial of 100 self-driving cars in Gothenberg and Tesla planning systems that will do 90 per cent of your driving within 3 years. Now it’s Ford’s turn.
The test Fusion gets a system called LIDAR (light detection and range – the funny looking ears on the top of the Fusion in the picture above) which can scan the road ahead up to 2.5 million times a second and create a 3D map of the surroundings. LIDAR is able to detect any object dense enough to bounce light back and is clever enough, say Ford, to tell the difference between a paper bag and a small animal even at a big distance. Which could be handy.
However, Ford seem to be a bit behind the curve as they don’t reckon their autonomous cars are going to be mainstream ready until 2025, whereas Tesla will be ready in 3 years, Mercedes by 2020 and Volvo’s fleet of 100 self-driving cars will be rolling round Sweden in 2017.
But be in no doubt – self-driving, and self-parking, cars are coming to a car showroom near you soon.