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Ford Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle

by Kenny Hoeschen

As part of its Blueprint for Mobility program, Ford has revealed its latest research vehicle – created in conjunction with the University of Michigan and State Farm – the Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle. The vehicle will be used to test current and future sensing systems and driver-assist technologies.

As shown in the video above, the vehicle currently has the ability to generate a detailed, 3D map of its surrounding environment through the use of four scanning infrared light sensors – named LiDAR (for Light Detection And Ranging) – that scan the road at 2.5 million times per second. LiDAR uses light in the same way a bat or dolphin uses sound waves, and can bounce infrared light off everything within 200 feet to generate a real-time 3D map of the surrounding environment. The sensors can track anything dense enough to redirect light – whether stationary objects, or moving objects such as vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. The sensors are so sensitive they can sense the difference between a paper bag and a small animal at nearly a football field away.

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