June 23, 2015

Autonomous vehicle technology is another step closer to production at Ford, moving from a research effort to an advanced engineering program, the company announced today. 

Ford has appointed a director of autonomous vehicle development – 29-year Ford veteran Randy Visintainer – and created a global team to work on the advanced program.

Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto is working on the global Ford team to deliver the Ford Smart Mobility plan, which aims to take the company to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and big data.

“During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup to help make our roads safer and continue to increase automated driving capability,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “At the same time, we are working to make sure those features and the whole way you shop for, buy and own a Ford vehicle provides an outstanding customer experience.”

With the transition to advanced engineering, autonomous driving technology enters the second of three phases in the process of bringing a feature to market. As an advanced engineering program, the team now is working to make the required sensing and computing technology feasible for production and continuing testing and refinement of algorithms.

Ford also announced today that Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology, already available on Ford Mondeo in Europe, will be available in the United States next year on a Ford-brand vehicle. This continues Ford’s plan to roll out the feature on most Ford products globally by 2019.

Driver-assist features are part of the building blocks for increasingly capable semi-autonomous technology, as Ford enhances the sensors, algorithms and actuators in vehicles to create new fully automated driving technology.

Today, Ford offers the most available driver-assistance features in four U.S. vehicle segments, according to an analysis comparing mainstream vehicles by SBD North America.

Ford F-150 has the most available driver-assist technology in the large light-duty pickup segment, while Edge and Explorer lead the midsize SUV segment, Fusion tops the midsize car segment and Taurus leads among large cars. Each vehicle has eight available driver-assist features, the independent analysis shows.

The Ford brand offers more nameplates in the United States with active park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping aid, and blind spot monitoring than any other mainstream manufacturer, according to SBD research.

Ford Media