Ford Now Betting Big On Level 3 Autonomous Systems

Ford is reshuffling its plans with regards to autonomous tech development, bringing the focus back on Level 3 systems as opposed to Level 4. The automaker is also continuing to develop Level 2 driver-assistance features, such as blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping systems.

Back in 2016, Ford said it would mostly bypass Level 3 systems and explore Level 4 autonomy, where vehicles don’t require any human control, reports Autonews Europe.

The reason why Ford execs said that was because back then, they didn’t know how to manage the transfer of control from car to driver in a responsible manner.

“We abandoned the stepping-stone approach of driver-assist technologies and decided we’d take the full leap to deliver a fully autonomous Level 4-capable vehicle,” stated Raj Nair, Ford’s former president of North America, at an event in August of 2016. Back then, company execs claimed that this approach was unique and would set Ford apart from rivals such as GM.

Fast forward to 2019 and Ford is yet again willing to go with a stepping-stone approach, using cameras and other systems that can make sure drivers are paying attention to the road and thus transfer control responsibly – much like Cadillac’s Super Cruise system, which uses retinal detection.

“Taking steps to get there as opposed to a big bang is more practical,” claims Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s president of mobility. “I think it allows us to provide autonomy in step functions to get people used to it. Acceptance is going to be a big deal; this is totally a different way to move.”

Meanwhile, Ford is planning on deploying Level 4 commercial vehicles on a mass scale in 2021, although in the meantime, the focus will be on advanced semi-autonomous systems.

“If you go right to full autonomy, the acceptance curve will be very steep, and you won’t have as much to learn about how humans interact with autonomy. If you just take that leap, you miss out on all those learnings.”

“I think 2019 is the year of getting real, delivering and executing for a lot of us,” concluded Klevorn.

more photos...
  • brn

    “Level 2 driver-assistance features, such as blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping systems”

    Um, that’d be level 1.

    Too bad about ford not going after level 4. The excuses don’t sound overly valid. Probably just realized it’s tougher than they thought.

Mercedes S-Class By Hofele Is A Unique Maybach Wannabe

The Ultimate S, as Hofele calls this Mercedes-Benz S-Class, is a one-off project.

Red Bull Racing Takes No Chances With Official 2019 F1 Livery

The look of the all-new RB15 is nearly identical to that of last year’s race car.

Life-Size LEGO VW T2 Bulli Camper Unveiled With Pop-Up Roof

The new LEGO VW T2 will be on display at the F.RE.E Leisure and Travel Fair in Munich.

Alfa Romeo Debuts 2019 F1 Livery With Giulia And Stelvio Branding

The car features both traditional Sauber white and blue colors as well as Alfa’s iconic red.

McLaren’s U.S. Sales Could Be Crippled By Other Markets’ Demand

If China and Europe bounce back, then McLaren may be forced to cut its yearly U.S. allocation.

Nissan X OPUS Concept Camper Is Powered By Recycled Leaf Batteries

The concept camper uses a battery pack with lithium-ion cells that can be recharged in just 1 hour.

2019 SsangYong Korando Previewed In Korea Ahead Of Geneva Debut

The fourth-gen Korando combines a Rexton-inspired exterior with a digitized interior.

Formula E’s BMW i8 Safety Car Has Us Wishing For An i8 M

Like previous years, the i8 acts as the electric series safety cars and has been fitter with a new livery.

Holden Boss Slams Reports That GM Is Looking To Sell It

Holden’s boss debunks rumors and states that GM is sticking with its Australian arm.

Jenson Button To Compete At Mint 400 And Baja 1000 Races

Despite racing in the Blancpain Series and Japan’s Super GT, Button will also contest the off-road events.