Ford is the latest automaker to get permission to test driverless vehicles on public roads in California, and the company’s fully autonomous Fusion Hybrid will hit the streets there in 2016. The Blue Oval’s recently opened Silicon Valley research center will be the hotbed for the development of this cutting-edge technology.
The experimentation in California will be key to Ford’s 10-year development program for autonomous tech. The company has been using the Silicon Valley lab to further these innovations with work like refining the way sensors detect and track objects. The engineers there have also worked to improve safety through camera-based pedestrian detection.
Since unveiling the autonomous Fusion Hybrid in late 2013, Ford has put a serious emphasis on developing driverless technology. The company worked with Stanford University to develop algorithms for it to predict the actions of other drivers, and the Fusion was the first vehicle to take a test drive around MCity in Ann Arbor, MI.
The California site for this new testing lets Ford keep an eye on competitors, too. Google’s fleet of autonomous vehicleskeep racking up the miles in the state with the occasional crash, and Audi also has a permit to test there.