Excitement over driverless technology has reached new heights recently, with the US Department of Transportation issuing, on Tuesday, what it called the "world's first" comprehensive guidelines for automated vehicles. Much of the discussion around smart driving technology involves self-driving cars—but the technology currently available making cars and trucks "smarter" is advancing in all kinds of innovative ways.
As part of the sixth annual Further with Ford conference, I had the chance to take a look at the newest Ford F-Series Super Duty truck at the Development Center in Dearborn, MI. Jennifer Shaw, driver assistance electronics supervisor at Ford, showed me the tech behind the truck—which is primarily used, she said, for towing. Here, she explains how the technology works:
In particular, a combination of seven cameras help drivers navigate with a trailer. The "trailer reverse guidance," which uses three high-resolution cameras, allows the driver to check out a wider range of angles in the blind spot of the trailer, monitoring for obstacles as the truck backs up. "The system presents a color-coded bird's-eye representation of truck and trailer on the console touch screen," according to Ford. "Yellow or red means the trailer angle is too tight and there is a risk of jackknifing."
The system, Shaw said, is the only one of its kind available for a trailer.
The four other cameras show the driver what's behind the trailer (see photo above), what's in the cargo box, what's ahead of the truck, and one for a lane-departure warning. Shaw said that, together, the tech can make a big difference for drivers navigating with a trailer.
- Video: TechRepublic takes a ride in Ford's fully-autonomous Fusion (TechRepublic)
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- Ford CEO promises autonomous vehicles for mass transit by 2021 (ZDNet)
- Ford executive chairman on Ford GT and autonomous cars (CBS News)
- Ford: Self-driving cars are five years away from changing the world (ZDNet)
- How Ford's autonomous cars can see in the dark, even without headlights (TechRepublic)
- Ford taps IBM for data analytics to win the connected car race (TechRepublic)
- Photos: A list of the world's self-driving cars racing toward 2020 (TechRepublic)
Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a journalist in Louisville, KY. Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Playboy, Undark Magazine, VICE, Vox, and other publications.