Project Nightonomy – The Next Step in the Autonomous Car 0

Ford have for a very long time been at the cutting edge of the automotive industry and research. As a progressive company, they have just taken a huge step forward in the world of the autonomous car. This step forward has been released by video and through technological news sources. Project Nightonomy, the nickname for this car and project, is an autonomous vehicle which can drive in the dark on its own with its headlamps turned off.

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Equipped with three different kinds of sensors, the car can drive in complete darkness. Using radars, cameras and also new LiDAR laser technology (which reportedly emits 2.8 million laser pulses a second), the new Ford vehicle creates a 3D map of its surroundings and is then able to navigate its way with ease. The LiDAR laser technology can create 3D maps very quickly by infusing the other two technologies that the car has available on board. As a result of this, the autonomous vehicle can therefore change course depending on movement ahead. This is the area in which the Google car failed recently in California as it crashed into a bus. So, Ford is clearly undertaking this current project to test the autonomous cars capabilities without any camera technology in untested conditions.

Having been tested recently in Arizona, the Ford technology team used night vision goggles both inside and outside the car in order to watch it complete the obstacle course in order to collect data. The completion of this has therefore allowed for a huge advancement for autonomous vehicles in day, night and adverse conditioned driving.

Ford has just recently announced that it would be tripling the number of autonomous cars it wants to be testing in 2016 to 30. Some may even be tested on California roads rather than an enclosed circuit in Arizona.

The future of the autonomous vehicle is getting closer and closer. But it seems now, its attempting to find the faults which are holding them back and fixing them. Is driving in darkness one of them now ticked off the list?