Everyone is moving down this path. Here is Ford’s story with California roots. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Dec. 15, 2015 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle. A groups of fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans will be rolling on California streets next year, as Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto continues growing. Ford is officially enrolled in the California Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. The testing is further advancement of Ford’s 10-year autonomous vehicle development program. According to Ford’s release, the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto is one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in the region, with a team of more than 100 researchers, engineers and scientists. The new research lab opened in January, expanding Ford’s presence in Silicon Valley. Eighty percent of the Palo Alto team joined Ford from the technology sector. The remaining 20 percent are Ford employees from the United States, China, Germany and Australia who bring automotive engineering and design expertise. The Silicon Valley facility has conducted this past year includes: Autonomous vehicle virtual test drive - This study allows virtual interaction between an autonomous car and pedestrians, replicating real-world situations to better understand and develop responses to some of the unexpected things that can happen on the road Sensors on autonomous vehicles detect and track objects in the vehicle’s view, fusing information together to provide a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings – including street signs, other vehicles, even pedestrians Camera-based pedestrian detection - Camera sensors serve as the eyes of a vehicle, allowing the car to “see” and sense pedestrians Data-driven health care - Through data collection from Ranger pickups and motorcycles outfitted with OpenXC technology, Ford is working with Riders for Health to collect GPS data and mapping coordinates to make health care, vaccines and medication delivery to people throughout rural Africa more efficient and accessible Ford has cultivated relationships with top universities this year, including University of California-Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Santa Clara and San Jose State. The company is further expanding its research collaboration with Stanford in 2016, planning 13 projects covering all five areas of Ford Smart Mobility – more than double the number of collaborations this year.