California has recently granted Ford an autonomous vehicle driving permit, which will allow the company to begin testing of an autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid this year on public roads. If “autonomous vehicle” is ringing a bell for you, you’ve probably heard of the concept – these autonomous models are what are more commonly referred to as self-driving cars! At the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, over 100 researchers have been hard at work on creating new and innovative ways to take driving to the next level, including the development of an autonomous vehicle.

The testing on public roadways is a key part of the 10 year autonomous vehicle development program, which in itself is part of the Ford Smart Mobility plan that is supported by the Palo Alto research lab. The Ford Smart Mobility plan aims to take driving to the next level across the board, including in terms of connectivity, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, and overall mobility. The test drives on public roads come on the heels of intense testing in the research center over the past year, including virtual test drives of the model, fine tuning of the sensors that gather information, and development of cameras that detect pedestrians.

The autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid may not be ready for regular buyers just yet, but this road testing is an important step along that way. In the meantime, local drivers can enjoy the product of the same hard work and innovation that are going into autonomous vehicles right here at O’Brien Ford of Shelbyville. Used cars, trucks, and SUVs sit on our lot right alongside the newest models, but they all have one thing in common – the quality you get with every Ford vehicle!