Ford Demos Test Car That Self-Steers Around Obstacles

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Ford Edge Concept

Ford demonstrated a test car that can self-steer around slower or stopped cars–a first such demonstration for any car maker in North America, it said Thursday.

The new “obstacle avoidance” feature was performed in a Ford Edge concept car that uses three radars, ultrasonic sensors and a camera to scan the road as far as 656 feet ahead.

If the system detects a slow-moving or stationary object, it displays a warning and sounds a chime. If the driver doesn’t act, the car automatically brakes and scans for gaps on either side of the hazard and steers around it.

The technology has been tested at speeds greater than 38 mph.

Using similar technology Ford also showed one-button parking, another prototype technology.  Drivers can park their car with the touch of a button or even by remote control.  It’s called “fully assisted parking.”

It differs from current “active park assist,” where the driver still must control the pedal and brake but the car steers itself when parallel parking.    The new version can find a perpendicular parking spot using its ultrasonic sensors and the car will park itself from a button inside or remotely outside.

Ford said it’s ultimate goal is not necessarily autonomous robocars, but “automated” driving where the driver is still at the wheel, but the car performs most of the functions.

93 percent of crashes are caused by human error, said Ford at a news conference Thursday.

The Ford Edge concept car was first shown at the LA Auto Show but the obstacle avoidance feature was first demonstrated Thursday.

Source: Ford

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