Last week, Ford announced the opening of a new research center in Palo Alto. The move will allow the company to speed-up its development of new technologies, focusing on mobility, connectivity, autonomous vehicles, and big data.
The Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto is Ford’s latest research center, and joins the Michigan and Germany campuses. As part of the move, Ford is partnering with Stanford to begin the next phase of testing of the Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicles.
Ford is conducting experiments in different areas, including connectivity. The new Palo Alto team will play a critical role in exploring ways to communicate with existing technologies. The team is already integrating Ford vehicles with Nest, and allow for temperature to be managed via GPS and proximity.
Another area of intense interest is autonomous driving technology. Ford is already running experiments globally and in its Michigan and Massachusetts research centers. The new campus will allow Ford to work closely with the Stanford engineering program and to test new path planning and prediction algorithms.
Ford’s autonomous vehicle research has two components: the path planning algorithms and aDRIVE, or Autonomous Driving Refined In Virtual Environments. aDrive is a visual test software that tests algorithms like traffic sign recognition and other road elements.
Ford is also hoping to get input from their human-machine interfaces to control systems. For instance, the company is researching better ways to control functions on a high-tech multi-contour seat, including natural speech recognition and a tablet-based interface.
As wireless technologies become a necessity in our everyday lives, companies are also evolving to align their goals. A century ago, car manufacturers were concerned with the vary basics of the vehicle, which was to move us from point A to point B. Today, the car has become a lot more than that, and vehicles now embrace the latest technologies. Ford has been at the forefront of this trend, and offers innovative safety features in all their models like blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, park assist, inflatable safety belts, AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, and more.
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