Innovation

Video: See how 2017 Ford Fusion Energi will be equipped with semi-autonomous features

Want to see what level 1 autonomy looks like? TechRepublic's Hope Reese drove the Fusion Energi with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go to test out the technology.

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Hope Reese tests out the Ford Fusion Energi with adaptive cruise control and stop-and-go.

Image: Hope Reese/TechRepublic

The promise of driverless cars has captured public attention, with the US Department of Transportation issuing guidelines for automated driving on Tuesday, and major automakers like Ford saying they'll unveil a completely autonomous, level-4 car by 2021.

So it's easy to forget this fact: There is already a lot of semi-autonomous technology on the road today. Tesla's Autopilot is, perhaps, the best known of the advanced driving technology currently on the road. But Ford's Fusion has featured adaptive cruise control—level 1 autonomy—since 2013.

So what does that look like? At Ford's Development Center in Dearborn, MI, Todd Soderquist, chief engineer for Ford Fusion Energi, explains how the technology worked in the 2017 Fusion Energi—one of 20 driver-assist features available on the latest model.

And TechRepublic's Hope Reese climbed into the driver's seat of the car to test out the technology herself. Here's the video of the ride:

As you can see, the adaptive cruise control means that the car can see what's happening in front of it—and can adjust speed accordingly. If the car ahead brakes, the Fusion Energi will also come to a stop. If it's a short stop, the car will start right back up again. If it's longer than three seconds, a simple touch of a button will instruct the car to restart, resuming its previous speed.

While Ford's Fusion Energi obviously requires hands on the wheel, as does all semi-autonomous technology available today, the adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go means the car can take over in often-stressful heavy traffic situations, allowing the driver to relax a bit. Ford isn't the only automaker to have adaptive cruise control—Volvo, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes and others also offer models with this kind of tech.

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About Hope Reese

Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.

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