Ford patents drone that acts as autonomous car lookout – The Detroit News


Ford Motor Co. thinks the driverless cars of tomorrow could come along with their own drones.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office published a Ford patent application for a drone deployment system that would certainly job along with autonomous vehicles to serve as the car’s “eyes” by flying ahead and mapping its surroundings. Passengers would certainly usage the car’s infotainment or navigation units to regulate the drone as an aerial sensor.

“The drone device is introduced to the car system in order to expand the range at which the car is concerning to obtain article on its environments beyond the range of any kind of one or a lot more sensors, visual units and/or communications interfaces that could be onboard the vehicle,” the patent says.

The patent likewise permits the drone to attain delivery of items to and from the vehicle. Along with a quad-copter or others flying device, the drone could be “a terrestrial model capable of land travel or a marine model capable of taking a trip on leading or under water.”

Just due to the fact that Ford has actually the patent for the technology doesn’t mean the system will certainly ever be produced.

“As a technology leader, we submit patents on innovative tips as a regular path of business,” a Ford spokesman said in a statement. “Patent applications are intended to protect brand-new tips yet aren’t necessarily an indication of brand-new firm or product plans.”

This isn’t the very first case of Ford dabbling along with drones.

At January’s CES technology trade reveal in Las Vegas, the automaker issued a developer challenge along with drone-maker DJI. The chance is that developers will certainly usage Ford’s Sync infotainment system to come up along with a system for the United Nations Progress Regimen to examine emergency zones inaccessible to normal vehicles.

The drones, which would certainly be docked in the bed of F-150 pickups, would certainly be deployed throughout a disaster adore an earthquake or tsunami to survey and map the damaged areas.

“There is an opportunity to make a significant distinction along with vehicles and drones functioning with each other for a common good,” Ken Washington, Ford vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering, said in January.

On July 16, the field of developers will certainly be whittled down to 10 finalists from 25 teams. Winners will certainly be announced in August in California, along with the winning group receiving $100,000.

Other teams are exploring drone applications, too. Wayne Say University students, in partnership along with developer Skypersonic LLC, are functioning on a drone-vehicle prototype that could communicate along with each others to reveal camera images from the drone on an infotainment screen or regularly follow about a car for a bird’s-eye see of vehicle’s surroundings.

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