The american car company has set as new target to build fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. Ford vehicles will operate without a steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal within geo-fenced areas. By doing this, the vehicle will be classified as a SAE Level 4 capable-vehicle, or one of High Automation that can complete all aspects of driving without a human driver to intervene.
The SAE International six levels of automation rating system is used by the U.S. Department of Transportation to classify a vehicle’s automation capabilities. The system starts at Level 0 — No Automation – which is defined as a vehicle that requires a human driver for all aspects of the driving task, and goes up to Level 5 –Full Automation – in which a vehicle can perform all driving tasks, no matter the environmental or roadway conditions. By mass producing a Level 4 capable vehicle, Ford will have achieved the highest level of automation by any automotive maker to date.
In order to reach this ambitious goal, Ford has committed to expanding its research in advanced algorithms, 3-D mapping, radar technology and camera sensors. In addition to the extensive testing of these vehicles and intensive collaboration with outside partners, Ford is focusing on expanding its Silicon Valley presence by creating a dedicated campus in Palo Alto to ensure that these innovations will be made.
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