Ford teams with top universities for driverless technology image

Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas, announced in conjunction with the Washington Auto Show that Ford is teaming up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University to pursue further research into automated driving technology.

The project with Massachusetts Institute of Technology uses algorithms to predict the actions of other vehicles and pedestrians and find the safest route. The Stanford project tackles the problem of how to enable sensors to see past obstructions, such as detecting the braking of a vehicle that is two cars ahead.

In December, Ford introduced its Fusion Hybrid research vehicle that has all Ford’s driving assist features and adds four LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors to create a real-time 3D map of the vehicle’s surroundings. The research vehicle was created in partnership with the University of Michigan and State Farm. It represents a decade’s worth of research into autonomous driving.

“To deliver on our vision for the future of mobility, we need to work with many new partners across the public and private sectors, and we need to start today,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer. “Working with university partners like MIT and Stanford enables us to address some of the longer-term challenges surrounding automated driving while exploring more near-term solutions for delivering an even safer and more efficient driving experience.”

Automakers continue to imbue their vehicles with safety technology that allows the car to steer, brake and accelerate on its own to prevent collisions when it detects a problem and the driver fails to respond in time. So far, the technology has been designed to assist the driver, but the future could have cars that take over driving responsibilities altogether.