Ford is the first auto maker to test autonomous vehicles at the University of Michigan’s Mcity facility in the USA. The Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle was tested at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, facility over a range of surfaces – concrete, asphalt, simulated brick and dirt – and maneuvers on two-, three- and four-lane roads, as well as ramps, roundabouts and tunnels.
“Testing Ford’s autonomous vehicle fleet at Mcity provides another challenging, yet safe, urban environment to repeatedly check and hone these new technologies,” said Raj Nair, Ford group VP, global product development. “This is an important step in making millions of people’s lives better and improving their mobility.”
Click here for a full feature on the Mcity proving ground. You’ll also find a video of Ford testing at Mcity, here.
Ford testing autonomous vehicles in full-scale simulated urban environment
Ford test vehicles merge today’s driver-assist technologies with LiDAR sensors to generate a real-time 3D map
Meanwhile, with winter on its way, Ford has given an insight into the extensive winter testing that goes on at its Allen Park facility in Michigan, whose climatic wind tunnel (above) can be used to simulate conditions from -40 to +130°F and wind speeds of up to 125mph while blowing snow.
To simulate worst-case scenarios, Ford vehicles are required to carry a full load of passengers and cargo, with some made to tow heavy loads in these conditions. Since snow can choke a vehicle’s engine, engineers continuously monitor air intake and the team also checks whether shift linkages freeze up and where snow accumulates on the vehicle.
In addition to a four-hour test in the climatic wind tunnel, Ford vehicles also undergo two days of snow-related testing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the city of Sault Ste. Marie.
Click here for a video inside the climate chamber at Allen Park.
November 26, 2015