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2021 Ford F-150 Autonomous Vehicle Spied Testing With Giant Rig On Roof

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It’s no secret that Ford has invested heavily in self-driving technology in recent years. The automaker has been piloting a test fleet of autonomous vehicles in various cities around the U.S. via its subsidiary, Argo AI, with an eye toward launching a commercial autonomous vehicle business next year. But while we’ve seen plenty of self-driving Ford Fusions and now a Ford Escape or two, this is the first time we’ve seen a 2021 Ford F-150 autonomous vehicle out testing.

There’s no mistaking this Ford F-150 autonomous vehicle for anything else, thanks to the massive rig it’s carrying on its roof. The rig contains LIDAR and corner-mounted cameras, which obviously make it stick out like a sore thumb driving down the road. However, what, exactly, Ford is working on here is a bit of a mystery.

This F-150 could be testing a more advanced, fully autonomous version of Ford’s new BlueCruise hands-free highway driving system, which is scheduled to debut in the Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang Mach-E later this year. Or, it could also be a prototype for Argo AI as it continues to develop its self-driving technology.

Either way, it makes perfect sense that Ford would be working on a self-driving version of the F-150 – by far its best-selling vehicle. Aside from offering such a vehicle to the public, an autonomous F-150 would fit perfectly in the automaker’s upcoming commercial vehicle fleet as a utilitarian, load-hauling vehicle rather than the robo-taxi the Escape will serve as.

Additionally, BlueCruise only works on roughly 100,000 miles of pre-mapped highways in the U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, other automakers, including Tesla, are working on integrating self-driving features into vehicles that will function on all roads, so it goes without saying that Ford will need to develop the same sort of technology to remain competitive in the future.

We’ll have more on this autonomous F-150 as soon as it’s available, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, and continuous Ford news coverage.

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Tigger

    Fully. I’d be ashamed to be seen riding in something like this.

    Reply
    1. Alex Luft

      Oh c’mon now. This is clearly a very early hardware mule.

      The initial Cruise AV prototypes also had a similar setup. Now, the production model (Origin) has all that fully integrated into the roof.

      Reply
      1. Tigger

        I don’t care either way. I have AVs to begin with.

        Reply
  2. Tom

    Why are we wasting money on this technology? Who wants it?

    Reply
    1. Joshua P. K.

      People who commute or travel a lot. If you constantly drive on highways, having these reduces stress by a lot, while also reducing chances of accidents by huge chunks. Most accidents are caused by human error, so reducing human interactions helps save lives.

      Reply
  3. Lee Glidewell

    Hey, this could prove useful. Put Nancy, Chucky and AOC in it and tell ’em, “It’s impossible for y’all to wreck this”. It’d be stacked up before y’all could blink!
    Autonomous vehicles… there’s a ‘use’ for ’em.

    Reply

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