Ford is licensing its robotic test driving technology to other auto makers. This technology saves time and spares drivers from physically demanding tasks such as driving over curbs and through potholes in durability testing.
Ford engineers worked with Utah-based Autonomous Solutions Inc. (ASI) to further develop the software and components that enable autonomous, robotic operation of test vehicles and now, other auto makers are set to benefit from Ford’s patented technology.
Chris Danowski, director of technology commercialization and intellectual property licensing, Ford Global Technologies, said, “Several automotive OEMs have already placed orders to purchase systems for their own testing.”
Robotic durability testing includes a control module installed in the test vehicle that controls vehicle steering. Ford-developed bell crank actuators control the throttle and brake pedals with a metal rod. The module is set to follow a pre-programmed course, and the vehicle’s position is tracked by cameras in a central control room and via GPS (accurate to +/- 1in).
Should the vehicle stray from its course, engineers have the ability to stop it, course correct as necessary, and restart the test. Onboard sensors can command a full stop if a pedestrian or another vehicle strays into the test vehicle’s path.
The innovative technology is being used extensively in the testing of the all-new 2017 F-Series Super Duty, to ensure it is ‘Built Ford Tough’.
Ford has granted a patent license to ASI, providing the company rights to incorporate and use its bell crank actuators in the systems ASI sells to other auto makers and suppliers to test cars, trucks, buses and military vehicles.
November 13, 2015