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Sensing the Future: Ford Issues Predictions for Next Wave of Automotive Electronics Innovation
By: PR Newswire
Dec. 21, 2012 02:12 PM
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
State-of-the-art sensing, computing and communications systems are not only quickly changing consumer expectations in people's everyday lives, but are driving innovation in the automotive industry at an incredible pace in preparation for the future.
"Ford was founded on the innovative spirit of Henry Ford, and the opportunity today to reinvent the driving experience excites us just as it probably would have him," said Paul Mascarenas, vice president and chief technical officer of Ford. "Technology is enabling Ford to bring a new level of awareness and intelligence that will dramatically enhance our customers' time behind the wheel."
As CTO, Mascarenas has been leading the team researching and developing new technologies for Ford vehicles, particularly in the area of driver assistance and mobile device connectivity.
"The new Fusion sedan demonstrates how we're making the car smarter using attainable and affordable technology and thus helping create a better driver," continues Mascarenas. "Fusion features an unprecedented level of sensors for its driver assist technologies, machine learning techniques to deliver more electric-only driving on the hybrids, and innovative graphical interfaces to help coach drivers to be as fuel efficient as possible."
With more than 145 actuators, 4716 signals, and 74 sensors including radar, sonar, cameras, accelerometers, temperature and even rain sensors, the 2013 Fusion can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver's seat. These sensors produce more than 25 gigabytes of data per hour which is analyzed by more than 70 on-board computers. The actuators combined with signal information from the driver assist sensors can alert the driver to potential dangers, and actively assist with parking and lane keeping.
"So far we've just scratched the surface of what is possible," said Mascarenas. "In the Fusion, we have sensors and actuators that act independently as part of the assist features. The next phase, currently in research, involves sensor fusion, where engineers learn how to more comprehensively characterize the environment by blending multiple signals, and add externally available information through cloud connectivity."
According to Mascarenas' predictions, top areas for car technology innovation in the coming years will include:
"All of these areas of research are well within our reach," concludes Mascarenas. "The key to readiness and implementation in Ford vehicles is ensuring the customer experience of these technology features trumps the technology itself."
About Ford Motor Company
SOURCE Ford Motor Company
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