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Ford Partners With German University on Autonomous Vehicle Research

February 5, 2015

On Thursday, Ford Motor Company announced that it will be embarking on a research collaboration with RWTH Aachen University in Germany for the furtherance of mobility and autonomous vehicles.

In a keynote address at the International CAR Symposium in Bochum, Germany, Ford’s chief Mark Fields noted that Ford European Research & Innovation Center and RWTH Aachen University’s Technology and Innovation Management Institute are launching a project this month, which they refer to as the “Personal Mobility Experience Innovation.”

The two-year project aims to determine technologies and solutions that will allow the automaker to meet the expectations and changing preferences of its customers when it comes to personal mobility. The project is also seen to ease common transportation challenges like traffic congestion as well as environmental concerns.

According to Fields, consumers and automakers alike are entering into one of the auto industry’s most transformative eras. He sees this as an opportunity for Ford to step in and provide consumers not only with exciting new products, but also automotive solutions that can help change the future of mobility.

The research collaboration will serve as a platform for experts from both Ford and RWTH Aachen University to carefully look at business models from various industries as well as transformations contributed by different innovators. From there, they will identify how these things can be used to take a leap forward in developing better mobility solutions, enhance consumers’ driving experience and create new business opportunities.

Apart from collaborating with RWTH Aachen University, Ford is also set to contribute to UK Autodrive this year. The said initiative is sponsored by the UK government and is focused on studying proper integration of driverless and connected vehicles in everyday life.

As part of the said initiative, Ford will be working with other manufacturers and will be giving two prototype vehicles that have the capability to communicate with other vehicles to test a different approach to public transportation. The vehicle connectivity technologies that will be tested during the UK Autodrive are expected to help in the development and adoption of fully autonomous cars.

Ford has been one of the leading automakers that invests in the research and development of semi-autonomous features for vehicles. Some such features that are already integrated in its vehicles include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Parking Assistance, and Pre-Collision Automatic Braking. It is also adding LiDAR sensors–an innovative technology that creates a 3D map of the surrounding environment in real time–to its fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicles.

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