Driving innovation in autonomous vehicles, drones and apps

January 5, 2016

The year has barely begun and already we are exploring a range of innovations to help to change the way the world moves.

Firstly, we are planning to triple the number of autonomous test vehicles.

The addition of a further 20 Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles for U.S. roads will make it the biggest fleet in the automotive industry.

The expansion is a key element of Ford Smart Mobility, our plan to reach the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, data and analytics.

“Using the most advanced technology and expanding our test fleet are clear signs of our commitment to make autonomous vehicles available for millions of people,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “With more autonomous vehicles on the road, we are accelerating the development of software algorithms that serve to make our vehicles even smarter.”

Ford Autonomous vehicle

We also are exploring how drones and vehicles might work together in future. To that end, together with DJI – the world’s leading company leader in professional-grade drone systems and software – we are launching the DJI Developer Challenge.

The goal is a surveying system for the United Nations to inspect emergency zones inaccessible to even the most versatile vehicles. The winner will receive $100,000.


And if you have a startup designed to keep people moving, take note, $120,000 is also being made available through Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit.

Last year, 10 companies raised more than $3 million after completing the mentorship programme, which we sponsor – and there is support for up to 12 more companies this year.

Finally, a first wave of automakers and industry suppliers – led by Toyota Motor Corporation – is adopting our open-source software that enables drivers to access smartphone apps using voice commands

By adopting Ford SmartDeviceLink, automakers and suppliers are helping to accelerate an industry standard that will increase the number of apps available for in-vehicle use.

Follow Ford updates from CES 2016 by #FordCES on social media.