Since late last year, Ford has been using robots to drive trucks at its Michigan Proving Grounds, especially in jarring or physically demanding tests.
Driving 15 MPH over a curb 30 times a day can be tough on the drivers who perform vehicle durability tests, so Ford Motor Co. developed a better idea: Let the vehicles drive themselves.
Since late last year, the automaker has been using robots to drive trucks at its Michigan Proving Grounds, especially in jarring or physically demanding tests. "We're using the robots on the really tough roads," Dave Payne, manager of vehicle development operations for Ford, told us. "The drivers take a terrible beating on those roads, so we are trying to take them out of the equation and let the robots take the abuse."
Ford's robotic driving system includes a ring gear attached to the steering wheel, a shifter actuator
(in red), and an accelerator actuator (next to the driver's seat).
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