When we spoke the first time about autonomous cars, we wanted them to simulate the presence of a human driver at the steering wheel, but Ford took this concept to a completely different level.
Through a combination of highly developed sensor technology and artificial intelligence, the Ford demonstrated us a few days ago a car that can handle itself in total darkness, without any intervention by a person. Through this experiment, the American company aims to demonstrate and managed, the idea of an autonomous car should go beyond the abilities of a human. In addition, Ford’s purpose was to show that it is far ahead of the competitors, although we do not know exactly when we will see this technology in a car available on the market.
All the action was spent a few days ago at Arizona Proving Ground, the Ford test track in the United States. For things to go smoothly, there was used Lidar technology. A name not very suggestive, combining under its umbrella 3D mapping laser skills and distance measurement. Somehow or another, Lidar is the radar that you have seen for years in movies, except that instead of electromagnetic waves, it uses lasers to know exactly what is in the surroundings.
“Thanks to Lidar, test cars do not depend on sunlight and cameras to detect any associated paint white lines on the road.” Jim Bride, technical director of Ford autonomous cars was very pleased by the project’s success rate. “Lidar allowing autonomous cars to move as easily at night as during the day.” From one point of view, the experience was surreal. “In the car, I could feel it moving, but when I looked out the window, I saw only darkness.” Wayne Williama, one of the researchers behind the project, which was in the car at the time of the test, feeling at least strange.
The conclusion of this experiment was in the future, a driver will still be limited by its eyes and ears when it will drive. On the other hand, the autonomous car, like this Ford, will combine Lidar computerized vision, radar, GPS, traffic information and many other sources to provide greater safety.