Ford just unveiled an automated Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle that will be used to evaluate future driverless vehicle technology. The vehicle is the next step in Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility, and it’s the result of a partnership with the University of Michigan and State Farm.

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The Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle will test current and future sensing systems and driver-assist technologies. Ford’s goal is to advance the development of new technologies so these features can be applied to the automaker’s next generation of vehicles, after 2025.

“The Ford Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle represents a vital step toward our vision for the future of mobility,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “We see a future of connected cars that communicate with each other and the world around them to make driving safer, ease traffic congestion and sustain the environment. By doing this, Ford is set to have an even greater impact in our next 100 years than we did in our first 100.”

Ford believes that it is necessary to collaborate with several partners to bring the new technology to the market. According to Ford, State Farm and the University of Michigan’s robotics and automation research team are critical to creating the visionary research project. The University of Michigan is leading in development of sensor-based technologies. The sensors aid in the logic and virtual decision making necessary to help the vehicle understand its physical surroundings on the road. Meanwhile, State Farm has been working with Ford to assess the impact of driver-assist technologies to determine if the technologies can lower the rate of rear collisions.

+ Ford