Ford is a company that has been constantly pushing the limits of autonomous technology. A significant advancement has been made in this direction. Ford has recently started testing its autonomous Fusion Hybrid in complete darkness. So can an autonomous car drive without headlights? Ford is set on proving that this is possible.
This darkness testing took place at the Ford Arizona Proving Ground. The self-driving Fusion utilized high-resolution 3D maps to navigate the darkness. These maps are complete with road markings and other landmarks, and geography and topography information.
At the core of the Ford autonomous systems is the LiDAR technology. Working with radar systems, LiDAR allows the vehicle to navigate in darkness just as well as in the daylight. LiDAR utilizes rapid, short pulses of laser light to scan the environment surrounding the car. The system sends out 2.8 million laser pulses a second, creating a real-time image of the area used to make navigation decisions.
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Many other autonomous vehicles utilize a system of cameras to detect lines painted on the road, and base navigation on this information. Operating the vehicle in darkness eliminates the ability to detect these lines, and thus hinders the autonomous technology. The Ford LiDAR technology eliminates this obstacle, creating the first autonomous vehicles that can function in darkness without headlights.
Ford is committed to providing the best in autonomous technology. The company’s autonomous vehicle fleet was recently tripled. 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrids are currently being tested in a various conditions. Many pieces of autonomous technology, like the stop-and-go technology on the 2017 Fusion, are currently being offered on Ford vehicles. Autonomous technology will continue to grow until self-driving cars are a reality.
If you would like to take a look at a Ford vehicle utilizing some of this autonomous technology, take a look at our selection at Brandon Ford.