Ford Motor Co. said last week its Escape Hybrid crossover will serve as the architecture and platform to launch its autonomous vehicle service in the coming years.
Beginning to roll out this month, Ford and Argo AI‘s fourth-generation self-driving test vehicles are built on the Escape Hybrid platform with systems that are “launch intent,” meaning they have the components the company believes is needed to support commercial use.
“With our fourth-generation test vehicle, we have everything we need from a vehicle to stand up our self-driving service,” the post stated.
For the fourth-generation platform, Ford and Argo have upgraded the LiDAR with higher resolution and a 128-beam sensing to help provide a 360-degree field of view.
Ford has also refined the sensor cleaning system it developed to keep sensors clean from rain, dirt, debris and insects.
Ford said it will gradually integrate these fourth-generation vehicles into its multi-city testing alongside its Fusion Hybrids in Austin, Detroit, Miami, Palo Alto, Calif., Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.
Ford confirmed to CNBC that it plans to launch an autonomous commercial business by 2022, accounting for several factors, including safety, regulations, and “community acceptance” of self-driving vehicles.