Ford debut an upgraded version of its self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan in Las Vegas at the CES, better known as the Consumer Electronics Show. The new version is equipped with more computing power. More advanced sensors and proprietary software developed by the Dearborn automaker that helps the car think for itself.
The new Fusion Hybrid features enhanced processing power through new computer hardware, and adjustments to electrical controls and sensor tech, Ford reports.
Ford self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid Features:
The new autonomous-driving test vehicles will feature upgraded computer hardware, enabling for greater processing power. Placement of sensors has also been changed to allow cars to ‘see’ better. The upgraded array of sensors includes the three cameras mounted on two racks on top of the roof. And a forward-facing camera mounted under the windshield, short- and long-range radar units, two lidar units, which stick out of the A-pillars like insect antennae.
The lidar units have a new, more streamlined design, and a more targeted field of vision, according to the Ford. This allows the Fusion Hybrid to get by with two lidar units instead of the previous four. Data from the sensors is compared to a 3D map of the environment, enabling the car to orient itself. All of these sensors, and computers that make up the car’s ‘brain,’ use a lot of the electricity, which is why Ford modifies Fusions Hybrids instead of non-hybrid models. This hybrids’ high-voltage battery pack can provide all of the juice the autonomous-driving system needs.
Ford has been testing the current version of its autonomous Fusion Hybrid since 2013, and earlier the year it increased the fleet from 10 cars to 30. This self-driving sedans have been tested on closed courses as well as on public roads in Arizona, Michigan, and California. In 2017, Ford plans to triple the test fleet to 90 cars.