Ford uses robots to test durability
In testing the durability of its upcoming fullsize Transit vans, Ford has begun using autonomous robotic technology to pilot vehicles through the punishing courses of its Michigan Proving Grounds test facility. The robots allow Ford to run more durability tests in a single day than it could with human drivers, as well as create even more challenging tests that wouldn’t be safe to run with a human behind the wheel.
The technology being used was developed by Utah-based Autonomous Solutions. Ford’s autonomous test vehicles follow a pre-programmed course and their position is tracked via GPS and cameras that are being monitored from a central control room. Though the route is predetermined, the robotic control module operates the steering, acceleration and braking to keep the vehicle on course as it drives over broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversize speed bumps.