Just one week before Ford is scheduled to demonstrate its latest addition to the autonomous ecosystem at CES 2017, the automaker has revealed the new vehicle to the public.
At first glance, the second-generation driverless Fusion Hybrid includes several differences from Ford’s first attempt. Ford’s first autonomous vehicle included a set of cylindrical sensors on the roof of the car, while the upcoming driverless Fusion Hybrid favours a more traditional appearance.
Ford will demonstrate the car at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas, and apparently plans to triple its fleet of driverless cars to approximately 90 later this year.
According to The Verge, the company is currently testing its first autonomous car in California, Arizona, Michigan, and plans to expand testing into the United Kingdom and Germany shortly.
In a post by Chris Brewer, the Chief Program Engineer of Ford’s Autonomous Vehicle Development, the company presents a deep look at the second-generation Ford Fusion Hybrid.
He explains in the Medium post that it’s been three years since Ford put its first autonomous vehicle on the road. While the newer Fusion Hybrid uses the current Ford autonomous vehicle platform, it reportedly increases processing power with new computer hardware.
Ford has previously committed to offer a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021, that also serves ride sharing and ride hailing purposes. By that time, Ford aims to remove the steering wheel and pedals from its vehicles.
Brewer ends the post by suggesting that the public will soon be hearing more about the user-experience aspect of the vehicle and uses the example of a passenger accidentally leaving items in the vehicle or exiting without properly closing the door.
Ford Motors is among several major automakers and tech companies that have taken steps towards the development of autonomous cars. These include BMW, Tesla, General Motors, Google, Uber, etc.