Ford has unveiled a new tool it says will help it win the race to make a fully autonomous vehicle: a coffee-can sized light and radar sensor, or LiDAR, developed by a Silicon Valley-based company called Velodyne, Inc. The new sensor, dubbed the “Ultra Puck,” could make a huge impact in advanced autonomous technology. The puck enables a driverless vehicle to create a real-time, 3D map of its surroundings, while enhancing Ford’s software development and testing to handle a broader range of driving scenarios. Ford plans to equip its fleet of driverless Fusion Hybrid sedans with the LiDAR sensors in the coming months and will have have up to 30 autonomous vehicles, or three times the fleet’s current size, on the road in California, Arizona, and Michigan later this year.
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