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Ask any car engineer what's the biggest variable in achieving fuel economy targets, and he'll tell you "the driver." If one human can't understand human driving behavior enough to be certain about an innocuous number like miles per gallon, how is an autonomous car supposed to figure out what hundreds of other drivers are going to do in the course of a day? Ford has enlisted the help of Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find out.
Starting with the automated Fusion Hybrid introduced in December, MIT will be developing algorithms that driverless cars can use to "predict actions of other vehicles and pedestrians" and objects within the three-dimensional map provided by its four LIDAR sensors.
The Stanford team will research how to extend the 'vision' of that LIDAR array beyond obstructions while driving, analogous to the way a driver uses the entire width of a lane to see what's ahead of a larger vehicle in front. Ford says it wants to "provide the vehicle with common sense" as part of its Blueprint for Mobility, preparing for an autonomous world from 2025 and beyond.
There's a press release with more information below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ford is ready to call the ball on its 2013 sales totals, predicting a first-place finish for units sold in the US for a single brand. The company anticipates selling more than 2.4 million vehicles when all vehicle sales over the last 12 months have been tallied, repeating the victory it trumpeted over Toyota last year.
According to Ford's accounting, it sold 329,677 more vehicles than did Toyota in 2012. This year, the Blue Oval expects that margin to grow; through the end of November, Ford says it has outsold Toyota by 396,041 units.
Retail sales of Ford products are projected to exceed 1.7 million units for 2013 (the best retail result in 6 years for the company), with passenger cars accounting for 600k of that total. The redesigned Fusion is expected to crest the 290k mark, and the Fiesta is said to be ready to hit a model-record of 70k-plus. Meanwhile, utility vehicles and trucks are still paying a lot of bills in Dearborn, with the new Escape racking up an expected 300k sales and F-Series trucks chugging along at 688,810 units sold thru November.
The full Ford press release, replete with more chest-thumping sales figures, can be found below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Autonomous cars may still be in their infancy, but more and more big names in the auto industry are diving in head first. Nissan is already making strides with a semi-autonomous Leaf EV and General Motors is planning to offer semi-autonomous tech by 2020. And then there's Google, doing its thing with a fleet of Toyota Prius. Now, Ford is showing off its latest automated effort, a driverless Fusion Hybrid.
Partnering with the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and State Farm Insurance, the project is part of Ford's Blueprint for Mobility, the company's plan for transportation beyond 2025. "The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility," Chairman Bill Ford said. "We see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and the world around them to make driving safer, ease traffic congestion and sustain the environment."
The automated Fusion features four LiDAR infrared sensors that scan the road 2.5 million times every second, using a principle similar to the echolocation used by dolphins or bats. Using the infrared light emitted by the LiDAR, the car can draw a picture of everything within 200 feet to create a map of its surroundings. According to Ford, the sensors are able to tell the difference between a paper bag and a small animal from a football field away.
Take a look down below for some of the exciting information on this autonomous project from Ford.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Three months after kicking off production of the Ford Fusion at its Flat Rock, MI factory, Ford Motor Company is taking steps to trim output in the face of heavily discounted competition from Toyota and a growing supply of vehicles.
The addition of Fusion production in Flat Rock - which also builds the Mustang - was meant to be what pushed the handsome mid-sizer past its arch-nemesis, the Toyota Camry. An extra facility building Fusions was also meant to curb the growing demand for Ford's highly profitable sedan.
But with word that Flat Rock would take "approximately" one extra week off for the holidays combined with an 88-day supply of Fusions - reportedly due in no small part to what Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas called "aggressive discounting of the Camry" - some analysts are now beginning to wonder if Ford may have overextended itself by adding a second Fusion facility to the mix.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Ford F-Series is hands down the best-selling vehicle in the US, but as it turns out, there are plenty of states where the truck doesn't reign supreme. Business Insider compiled data from Kelley Blue Book based on 2013 sales figures from January through August to create a map of the top-selling vehicles in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Looking at the map, Ford's truck is the top vehicle in 34 states, but there are states - some surprising, some not - where other vehicles are more popular among consumers.
After Ford's pickup, it's a battle among midsize sedans, with the Honda Accord being the most popular in Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, while the Toyota Camry (the reigning best-selling car in the US) is the favorite among Florida and Maryland owners; the Nissan Altima is one of the surprises on the list as the most popular car in Oklahoma. The Ford Fusion is the top-selling car in Michigan, and it is also the only American-branded car on the list. Rounding out the passenger cars, Massachusetts and Connecticut favor the Honda CR-V, California buyers flock to the Honda Civic and Washington, D.C. buyers prefer the Toyota Corolla.
Truck-loving buyers also reside in Maine and Indiana (choosing the Chevy Silverado), Vermont (GMC Sierra) and Hawaii (Toyota Tacoma). Regardless of what vehicle is most popular in which state, one interesting observation for all the models on this list is that they all have at least some US production. Head on over to Business Insider to see the whole map.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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