Ford Gears Up to Produce Semi-Automated Cars

By CIOReview | Wednesday, June 24, 2015
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PALO ALTO, CA: To level up with its competitors, Ford Motors gears up to produce self-driving cars. Ford is planning to advance its safety technology, including automatic braking, across its global vehicle lineup over the next five years.

Heading to the direction of fully autonomous vehicles and as a precursor to it, Ford Motors design focuses on automating basic functions as steering, braking and throttle.

Ford’s executives announce that its advanced engineering efforts extend well beyond self-driving vehicles, these include breakthroughs in high-speed, three-dimensional printing of prototype parts, in partnership with Silicon Valley-based Carbon3D, as well as the extension of the MyFord Mobile app to wearables, including Apple Watch and Android Wear. The app will enable owners of Ford hybrid and electric cars to remotely check such functions as driving range and battery charge.

Ford also has recently opened a research and innovation center in Palo Alto in northern California's Silicon Valley where much of the engineering development work will take place. Companies like General Motors, Volkswagen AG's Audi, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and Tesla Motors are already planning to roll out their semi-automated driving systems in the next 18 months.

"During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup (and) continue to increase automated driving capability," says, Raj Nair, Ford's Global Product Development Chief.

Automatic braking and pedestrian detection, which are available on Ford's Mondeo sedan in Europe, will debut next year on one of its U.S. vehicles and in most Ford products globally by 2019.

Nair adds that their move is "another step closer to production" of fully autonomous vehicles. He declined to comment on when such vehicles would reach the market, but its rival companies have targeted 2020.