Friday, 20 November 2015 15:45

Ford (F): First Automaker to Test Autonomous Vehicles at Mcity, MI

Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) has started testing autonomous vehicles at Mcity, which is a full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan. With this, Ford became the first automaker to test autonomous vehicles at the facility. Autonomous driving will provide better mobility to customers. Ford intends to offer next-level connectivity and, thus, ensure improved customer experience.

Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles over the past decade. The automaker is now expanding the testing of autonomous vehicles to various roads and neighborhoods of Mcity near the North Campus Research Complex. This will help in accelerating the research of advanced sensing technologies.

Ford offers a wide range of semi-autonomous technologies in different vehicles globally. These technologies facilitate convenient daily driving for users. The Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle comes with driver-assist technologies, including front-facing cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, with the addition of four LiDAR sensors to help generate a real-time 3D map of the vehicle’s surrounding environment. These features enhance the performance of the vehicle.

Mcity, which is spread across 32 acres of land, is part of Michigan University’s Mobility Transformation Center. The facility was inaugurated in July this year. It provides a full-scale urban environment scenario, including street lights, crosswalks, lane delineators, curb cuts, bike lanes, trees, hydrants, sidewalks, signs, traffic control devices and construction barriers.

At Mcity, the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle is tested over a range of surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, simulated brick and dirt. It maneuvers two-, three- and four-lane roads, along with ramps, roundabouts and tunnels.

Ford unveiled the Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle in 2013 in an attempt to integrate these technologies into its next-generation vehicles. Ford’s semi-autonomous technology is available in four vehicle segments in the U.S., including large light-duty pickup F-150, midsize SUVs Edge and Explorer, midsize car Fusion, and large car Taurus.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Buy). Better-ranked automobile stocks include General Motors Company (GM - Analyst Report), Fox Factory Holding Corp (FOXF - Snapshot Report) and O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY - Analyst Report). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).