Ford Replaces Human Test Drivers with Robots for New Trucks
June 17, 2013 10:03 AM
comment(s) - last by
Ford wants more rigorous testing in a shorter amount of time for vehicle development
Step aside, humans, and welcome
our robot overlords
as Ford implements robotic test drivers for its Ford trucks.
Ford said it wants to use robots for rigorous test driving of its trucks
instead of humans
because humans are limited to a certain amount of time on dangerous test tracks, and Ford wants tougher trucks with more arduous testing.
Ford worked with Utah-based Autonomous Solutions Inc. to create a robotic control module that drives the trucks. The module is installed in the vehicle for acceleration, braking and steering, and is programmed to follow a certain course. But if it strays away, Ford has the ability to stop it and redirect the test drive.
The robotic test system also has other useful features, such as GPS, cameras (so engineers can track its position) and onboard sensors so the control module can stop the truck if a person or another car comes in its path.
The robots are to be used on Ford's toughest test tracks, which feature cobblestones, broken concrete, metal grates, rough gravel, oversized speed bumps and mud pits. Ford trucks must pass such tests in order to be certified for customer use, but with human test drivers, testing on these dangerous grounds was limited to once a day to keep the people safe.
“Some of the tests we do on our commercial trucks for North America are so strenuous that we limit the exposure time for human drivers,” says Dave Payne, manager of vehicle development operations at Ford. “The challenge is completing testing to meet vehicle development time lines while keeping our drivers comfortable.
“Robotic testing allows us to do both. We accelerate durability testing while simultaneously increasing the productivity of our other programs by redeploying drivers to those areas, such as noise level and vehicle dynamics testing.”
Payne further added that this is not a sign of Ford's movement into autonomous driving; only a better solution for the test track.
Ford is currently using its new robotic system on the new
full-size Transit van
, which has a 2014 launch date.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: i think this is a bad idea
6/17/2013 4:30:04 PM
You don't think a robot can measure the vibrations inside the cab to provide a rough idea of what the suspension feels like? A computer should be able to give them the ability to tune the suspension to a certain degree, and once that point is reached, they can use human feedback to fine tune it.
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
Human Rights Watch: Ban "Terminator" Robots Before We Lose Control
November 20, 2012, 5:30 PM
Foxconn Looks to Replace Humans With Suicide-Proof Robots
August 1, 2011, 10:11 AM
Ford Transit Connect Commercial Electric Vans Ships
December 9, 2010, 10:35 AM
Volvo’s Next Gen XC90 to Feature Turbo/Supercharged Engine with Plug-in Hybrid Tech
July 8, 2014, 10:50 AM
Report: Tesla’s “Entry Level” Electric Sedan Likely to Use Steel Unibody to Lower Costs
July 2, 2014, 9:30 AM
Google, Detroit Automakers Can't Agree on Autonomous Vehicles
June 30, 2014, 2:23 PM
Report: Next Generation Toyota Prius Delayed by Six Months
June 30, 2014, 12:00 PM
Ford, Intel Join Forces to Make Cars Respond to Gestures, Facial Recognition
June 26, 2014, 2:12 PM
Toyota Showcases Production Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car, Priced from $69k in Japan
June 25, 2014, 8:18 AM
Most Popular Articles
Silver-Doped Superconductor Stores 550,000+ Times Earth's Magnetic Field
July 3, 2014, 8:48 AM
Despite Legal Threats Google Begins Posting Warnings of ISP Throttling
July 7, 2014, 5:52 PM
Leaked Photos Show New Lumia 830 Smartphone With Aluminum Frame
July 3, 2014, 11:31 AM
Google Steps up Moral Censorship, Hogties All Ads With Sexual Content
July 4, 2014, 2:00 PM
Apple's iPhone, iPad Update iOS 7.1.2 is Badly Broken for Some
July 8, 2014, 2:00 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information