Ford to begin autonomous vehicle testing in California next year [video] image

A Ford Fusion Hybrid packed with self-driving technologies will be put to test on California’s public roads from next year.

The streets are starting to be crowded by autonomous cars, as increasingly more automakers want to test their driverless technologies on public roads. If Hyundai and Kia have announced they received driving permits for autonomous cars this week in Nevada, now it is Ford’s time to be officially enrolled in such programs, but in California. Therefore, fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans are taking to the state’s streets next year, as Ford is progressing in its Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto project. The testing is a further advancement of the company’s 10-year driverless vehicle development program and a key element of Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take the automaker to the next level in connectivity, mobility and autonomous technologies. At the Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, Ford relies on a team of more than 100 researchers, engineers and scientists. The new research lab opened in January is expanding Ford’s presence in Silicon Valley, which dates back to 2012.

Various research on self-driving technologies has been conducted at the Center throughout this year, including: testing the interaction between an autonomous car and pedestrians, replicating real-world situations to better understand and develop responses to some of the unexpected things that can happen on the road; sensors that could detect and track objects in the vehicle’s view, fusing information together to provide a 360-degree sight of the car’s surroundings or camera-based pedestrian detection, where sensors serve as the eyes of the vehicle, allowing the car to “see” and sense pedestrians.