Ford details drone-based vehicle sensor backup

July 26, 2018  - By

Ford has applied for a patent that would send a drone to dock with an autonomous vehicle and act as a surrogate sensor if one of the car’s sensors failed. The UAV then uses its own sensors to guide the car to a repair facility.

A UAV docks with a car. (Diagram: Ford’s patent application)

A UAV docks with a car. (Diagram: Ford’s patent application)

The filing from Ford Global Technologies, a subsidiary that manages and commercializes patents and copyrights, outlines the process.

Once the vehicle registers a fault in one of its sensors, it uses a vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) network to summon the drone, which flies to the vehicle, receives authorization, and then lands atop it. The UAV then serves as a replacement sensor while directing the vehicle to a nearby repair center to fix the car’s sensor.

Ford developed the technology to aid autonomous vehicles that have lost a critical navigation sensor; autonomous cars use GNSS, short- and long-range radar, lidar, cameras and ultrasound.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.