A recent study by Navigant Research compared vehicle autonomous development currently underway at eighteen different companies. While tech companies have been exploring different development options, it is the major automakers that are starting to become the top leaders of this new type of vehicle classification and category.
Ford started investing into autonomous development strategies over a decade ago. Even though the automaker was not seen as one of the leaders even two years ago, things have slowly started the shift. The same can be said at other automakers, as they, too, once were not viewed as major contenders, but have slowly started to emerge.
What Is an Autonomous Vehicle?
An autonomous vehicle is also referred to as a “self-driving car.” Some vehicles currently on the market today and available at car dealerships in Bloomington, Indiana or your local area, are considered to be autonomous based upon features like cruise control, automated braking systems, lane assist, driver impact warnings, and parallel parking assist.
There are six different levels of classifications being assigned to vehicles based upon what types of features and technology used in the vehicle. The classification system was created by SAE International in 2014 as the development of autonomous vehicles continues to advance.
Most vehicles with advanced driving features, as mentioned above, are classified as Level 1 autonomous vehicles. Future vehicles in development will be designed to fall into higher level classifications. For instance, Ford is testing an autonomous Fusion, which has been classified as a Level 4 autonomous vehicle.
With a Level 4 vehicle, it does not require any driver interactions during normal operations, other than selecting a destination. However, a driver should be present in the event of a system error, and, if the driver does not retake control, will automatically park. Level 4 vehicles are being designed to operate within specific types of environments.
For instance, the Ford Fusion will be used to provide ride-sharing in major cities on set routes, initially. Outside of these routes, the vehicle would require driver interaction to continue to operate correctly. Ford’s goal is to have several Level 4 vehicles being used as alternative forms of public transportation by the early 2020s.
Why Ford Was Ranked the Current Leader
Navigant Research ranked the different companies based upon ten different ranking criteria. Among these, quality, reliability, production capability, distribution, and longevity of the business were taken into consideration. Ford already meets all of these with their current car production standards.
Trailing behind Ford, and also considered leaders in the development of autonomous vehicles, were General Motors, Renault-Nissan, and Daimler/Chrysler. These other major car manufacturers also have goals to start releasing autonomous vehicles into the market in the early 2020s.
While we look forward to the future developments of autonomous vehicles, in the meantime you can check out different autonomous features available in current Ford models at Community Ford Lincoln. Feel free to visit our showroom today or contact us at 812-331-2200 for further information!