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Ford granted patent for autonomous off-road driving system!

Discussion in 'Auto News & Rumors' started by redriderbob, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. redriderbob

    redriderbob Mopar Guru!
    Level 2 Supporter

    Feb 22, 2004
    Ford granted patent for autonomous off-road driving system


    Automakers have no intention of confining the ease, comfort and safety of self-piloted driving to paved urban roads. Last week the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Ford Global Technologies a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. The feature - noted in the patent as not limited to pickups or traditional off-road vehicles - would size up an environmental obstacle like a ditch or a boulder field, and potentially traverse the obstacle without manual input.

    Ford's patent outlines a system utilizing wide-ranging sensor arrays and on-board data: cameras, radar, ultrasonic and height sensors, LIDAR, topographic maps, and rain and road-condition detectors, among others. First, the autonomous tech would decide if it could safely navigate an off-road challenge at all. If so, then it would determine if it could do so with passengers in the vehicle. If the system suspected a rollover risk beyond a certain safety threshold, the system would instruct the passengers to exit the vehicle. A "remote device" could enable some type of manual control while the driver watches the show from outside. Either manned or unmanned, the system would command variables such as an active suspension, body mounts, differentials, and individual wheel position via settings like "rock crawling" and "ground clearance avoidance" to get over the river and through the woods without harm.

    If you think you've heard about this kind of driver assistance before, you have: Land Rover demonstrated its experiments with remote-controlled off-roading two years ago. Last year, Land Rover paraded its research into supplemental tech like Terrain-Based Speed Adaptation that registered road-level hazards such standing water, and Overhead Clearance Assist that scanned for potential damage from above.

    With Ford intending it's autonomous off-road system be suitable for "a van, a minivan, a taxi, a bus, etc," now we countdown to the day when the Transit Connect gets a Rubicon rating. Although maybe the Bronco is the more likely target.

    Ford granted patent for autonomous off-road driving system (at https://www.autoblog.com/2017/11/13/ford-granted-patent-for-autonomous-off-road-driving-system/?hcid=ab-around-ab-tile-1 )
  2. CherokeeVision

    CherokeeVision Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2004
    But that takes all the fun out of it.
    GasAxe and link3721 like this.
  3. link3721

    link3721 Yes, This MK Goes Off-Road
    Level 2 Supporter

    Oct 18, 2012
    I could see it being useful for certain scenarios. Say an inexperienced driver finds themselves unable to navigate an obstacle or nervous about causing damage and spotters aren't able to help, then the driver could potentially use the autonomous mode to get them out of their pickle and on their way.

    Think of it more as a backup than a primary system. Also, maybe the system could see a line through an obstacle that isn't immediately obvious to most.

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