Artificial intelligence firm Argo AI, which in February drew a $1 billion investment commitment from Ford, has acquired Princeton Lightwave — a company specializing in LiDAR sensors that are well suited for autonomous vehicles.Based in San Francisco, Argo AI announced the acquisition in a blog post written by company CEO Bryan Salesky. Argo AI is working to develop a new software platform for Ford’s fully autonomous vehicle coming in 2021.LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors “are crucial to creating a three-dimensional view of the world that helps autonomous vehicles find where they are on the road and detect other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists,” Salesky wrote.Princeton Lightwave, based in Cranbury, N.J., is a leader in Geiger-mode LiDAR technology.
Earlier this year we showed you a heavily modified Ford GT that hit 293.6 mph from a dead stop in the standing mile. That car broke the Guinness World Record 283.2 mph standing-mile run set by Johnny Bohmer 2012. Well, Bohmer is back, and he’s not messing around.This past Friday, Bohmer and his crew took his 2700-horsepower, street legal “BADD GT” to the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle runway in Florida to see if it could crack the 300 mph barrier.According to Jalopnik, Bohmer lost some boost pressure in 6th gear, and had to settle for just 292 mph. More worrying, the parachute he planned to slow down with ripped off his car on deployment, meaning all the stopping power had to come from the car’s brakes.Bohmer was able to slow the car down safely using the brakes, but the immense heat cracked the rear rotors. Bohmer told Jalopnik he thought the car was on fire when he finally got it stopped, the brake heat was so intense.The team is now aiming for 315 mph as a new benchmark, though Bohmer would be happy to exceed 300 mph. Watch for yourself as this Ford GT flies down the runway.
Commercial vehicle upfitter XL Hybrids has announced that it will begin production of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for Ford F-250 pickups in the first quarter of 2018.The XL3 system will be offered as a ship-through upfit on 2018 F-250 pickups, and is compatible with a range of wheelbases, cab and bed configurations in both 4×2 and 4×4 options. All components are installed under the vehicle, retaining the pickup bed’s full capacity.According to the company, the upfit offers an up to 25 percent increase in fuel efficiency.Installation of the XL3 system can be completed in just hours, and leaves the original engine, transmission, fuel system and exhaust system completely intact. Fleets maintain the complete OEM warranty, and get a three-year, 75,000 mile warranty from XL Hybrids on the XL3 powertrain.
Work on Ford’s autonomous technologies continues – the company is developing a Fusion self-driving prototype with highly advanced sensors, radars, and software. The Blue oval brand demonstrated what it has achieved so far at the University of Michigan and its Mcity facility.Mcity simulates urban environment which allows Ford to safely test up to Level 4-capable autonomous vehicles in “scenarios like traffic in intersections, pedestrians in crosswalks, different traffic signals, and even bicyclists.” During the demonstration earlier this week, autonomous Fusion prototypes “successfully piloted themselves around the faux city landscape, top speed around 25 miles per hour,” as Automotive News reports.
It might be small, but the Carr-E has an impressive set of capabilities. Designed by a systems engineer based in Cologne, France, it’s able to carry people or objects weighing up to 120 kg (265 lb) at up to 18 km/h (11 mph). Range is limited to 22 km (13.7 mi), which should be more than enough to scoot from a car park to the office or train station.Being able to carry humans is one thing, but the Carr-E also shines as a load-lugging device. Having piled it up with cargo, owners can slip a beacon into their pocket and start walking, at which point the circular little scooter will start following them.
Autonomous vehicles’ reliance on cameras is obviously out of the question in the night. Ford — the company who claims they will have autonomous technology ready by 2020 — announced today that their camera-less, self-driving darkness tests have been successful, and they released a YouTube video to prove it.The video shows a prototype Ford Fusion navigating the company’s Arizona test track. The green tint of night vision goggles, the radioed in call of “sunset in T-5 minutes” at the top of the video, and the “Project Nightonomy” title gives the video a feeling of watching something top secret. The entire video feels like insight into a black ops mission, complete with epic background music and camouflage army helmets.