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Ford, Stanford, MIT team up to advance research

Assorted eggheads kick off new automated driving research project

Published: January 24, 2014, 2:00 PM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 2:47 PM

Ford MIT research vehicle inteiror

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Continuing their "Blueprint for Mobility" campaign a month after revealing its automated Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle, Ford announced partnership projects with smarty pantses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.

Blueprint for Mobility offers Ford's take on what transportation will look like in 2025 and beyond, as well as the technologies, business models and partnerships needed to get there. Ford says with its automated Fusion Hybrid, it's exploring "potential solutions for the longer-term societal, legislative and technological issues posed by a future of fully automated driving." They'll use advanced algorithms to teach the vehicle to predict where moving vehicles and pedestrians might be in the future, giving the vehicle a sense of surrounding risk and letting it better plan a path that will safely avoid other moving objects.

The MIT research will focus on scenario planning to predict the actions of other vehicles and pedestrians; the Stanford project will centre on how a vehicle might maneuver to allow its sensors to look around obstructions. By scouting information a driver might get from, say, inching into the next lane to peek around a stopped truck, the sensors would do a little recon to let the vehicle know it's safe to swerve into the next lane if a truck were to brake suddenly in front of it.

“Our goal is to provide the vehicle with common sense,” said Greg Stevens, global manager for driver assistance and active safety, Ford research and innovation. “Drivers are good at using the cues around them to predict what will happen next, and they know that what you can’t see is often as important as what you can see. Our goal in working with MIT and Stanford is to bring a similar type of intuition to the vehicle.”