Ford and Virginia Tech Team Up for Driverless Technology

The future of autonomous and driverless vehicles is just around the corner. Automakers around the world are working on this technology. Ford and Virginia Tech have teamed up to study a unique aspect of self-driving cars—how people react to them.

When you reach an intersection with people waiting on the corner, you likely communicate with them through hand waves, head nods, or other gestures to show them your intentions. With a driverless vehicle, that communication is lost.

With the research Ford and Virginia Tech are doing, they have developed a series of light signals that can be used to show pedestrians what an autonomous vehicle is going to do next. To put these lights to the test, they equipped a Ford Transit with a light bar on the windshield and then created a “seat suit” to conceal the driver and make it look like a driverless vehicle.

You can watch this video to see how it works.

John Shutko, Ford’s human factors technical specialist, said, “We need to solve for the challenges presented by not having a human driver, so designing a way to replace the head nod or hand wave is fundamental to ensuring safe and efficient operation of self-driving vehicles in our communities.”

What would you think if you saw a driverless vehicle? Here at Shults Ford of Harmarville, we are excited to see where this incredible technology goes next.

Ford and Virginia Tech

New Ford Self-Driving Car Already Undergoing On-Road Testing

Many automakers have been hoping to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market by the end of the decade—and suddenly, Ford is right in the thick of that race. The brand just announced that a new Ford self-driving car, a version of the Fusion Hybrid, is already undergoing on-road testing—which gives it a pretty big head start on some other autonomous vehicles. Perhaps Ford will bring its self-driving car to market before anyone else, although that of course remains to be seen.

What doesn’t remain to be seen is Ford’s commitment to the future—a future that will inevitably include autonomous technology. “We’re already manufacturing and selling semi-autonomous vehicles that use software and sensors to steer into both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, adjust speed based on traffic flow or apply the brakes in an emergency,” Ford CEO Mark Fields said in a statement. “There will be a Ford autonomous vehicle in the future, and we take putting one on the road very seriously.”

To learn more about the possibilities of autonomous Ford vehicles—and maybe to think about which ones would look best as autonomous vehicles—come see us here at Shults Ford of Harmarville to check out the current Ford lineup. You might have to keep your hands on the wheel for now, but with vehicles that handle this good, you won’t mind.

Ford self-driving car