Ford Talks Drones and Self-Driving Cars (But Not Google)

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LAS VEGAS—First off, no, there was not a singular discuss of Google during Ford’s CES press discussion Tuesday morning. But that doesn’t meant a automaker is pulling automation to a side.

Quite a contrary, Ford announced skeleton to triple a unconstrained automobile growth swift and use a new-generation sensor record to accelerate a growth plan. The association is also focusing on connectivity, announcing some engaging partnerships with Amazon and DJI.

Let’s start with a unconstrained vehicles, given they’ve been theme to a many conjecture as of late. Ford Chief Technology Officer Raj Nair announced that Ford is tripling a swift of Fusion Hybrid unconstrained investigate vehicles this year, creation it a largest among all automakers. The latest era of exam vehicles will use Velodyne’s new Solid-State Hybrid Ultra Puck (pictured below), that is a sensor that provides accurate information for minute mapping and accurate real-time 3D models of a sourroundings surrounding your car.

This will pierce Ford’s sum series of unconstrained exam vehicles to 30, that are being tested on roads in Arizona, California, and Michigan. “With some-more unconstrained vehicles on a road, we are accelerating a growth of program algorithms that offer to make a vehicles even smarter,” Nair said.

Noticeably absent from this proclamation was any discuss of Google. Ford CEO Mark Fields hinted during this toward a finish of a press conference, seeking “Will Ford work with others for unconstrained vehicles?” He answered with a unaffected yes, afterwards named a series of partner companies, including Velodyne, that aren’t Google. So during this point, it seems those rumors are flattering most quashed.

Partnerships With Amazon, DJI
In further to unconstrained vehicles, Ford also announced some engaging partnerships with Amazon and DJI. With Amazon, Ford is focused privately on formation with Alexa, a voice partner that powers a Amazon Echo speaker. The association is looking to connect its Sync 3 complement with a Wi-Fi-connected Echo, permitting we to control intelligent home inclination from your automobile and clamp versa.

For instance, with Alexa integration, we can ask your Amazon Echo to tighten or transparent or start or stop your automobile from a comfort of your home. In addition, we can ask it to check on a operation or assign standing of an electric vehicle, check fuel levels, state mileage, or yield automobile location, including a travel name and a pushing time and mileage to get home.

On a flip side, while in a car, we can ask Alexa to do things around your home before we get there, like spin a front lights on or open a garage door. Of course, these actions assume we have possess intelligent bulbs and a intelligent garage doorway opener and that they’re related to a hub. But we can also only use it to ask Alexa to perform some-more elementary actions, like check a weather, supplement an object to your selling list, or change a music.

Ford’s partnership with DJI is reduction consumer-focused. The association announced a launch of a DJI Developer Challenge, that encourages developers to emanate drone-to-vehicle communications regulating Ford Sync AppLink or Open XC. Ultimately, a thought is to rise a complement for a United Nations Development Program to consult puncture zones around worker that other vehicles can’t access.

Think about it this way: In a eventuality of a healthy disaster, an puncture response group can expostulate as tighten as they presumably can in a Sync 3-equipped vehicle. But in sequence to check a area they can’t entrance in a car, they brand a targets they wish to see and muster a worker to consult a area around Sync AppLink. The worker can afterwards broach design and video of a area in question, that can assistance responders establish where to combine their efforts. It’s a good idea, though there are copiousness of questions that need to be addressed first, like brief worker battery life and some-more accurate levels on control.

Still, these announcements make it transparent that Ford is focused on apropos famous as some-more than only an automaker. Accordingly, Fields said, “Beginning this year, you’re going to see us change flattering dramatically, apropos and automobile and a mobility company.” It’s an engaging move, and one expected to change competing automakers over a entrance year.

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