Ford Authority

Ford EVs Will Soon Drive Themselves Off The Assembly Line

The Ford Cologne Assembly plant is in the midst of a major transformation that will see it converted for the production of all-electric vehicles, at which point it will be renamed the Ford Cologne EV Center. That process is already underway, with the automaker exploring all kinds of cutting-edge tech for the facility including an EV motor research project, robots that help workers with physical limitations complete their jobs, a massive bridge that will be used to transport vehicles from one station to another, and a 3D printing center. Now, the automaker has announced that the Ford EVs will soon be able to drive themselves off the assembly line, using new, cutting-edge AI.

Ford Cologne EV Center E-Self Program 002

The Blue Oval is currently conducting a trial program involving AI-powered automated driving technology called E-Self, which enables Ford EVs to drive themselves off the assembly line, to final testing stations, and then to self-charge before parking ahead of delivery. The project utilizes vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to control and monitor vehicles, as well as sensors placed around the plant to identify potential hazards and avoid collisions with people or equipment.

The 2.5-year trial program is being conducted in partnership with the Institute of Automotive Engineering of the Technische Universität Braunschweig and Kopernikus Automotive, with funding from The Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection. Ultimately, Ford hopes that this technology can prove feasible enough to become permanent, saving multiple steps in the manufacturing process and quite a few man hours in the process.

“Ford is reinventing its portfolio of vehicles in Europe and exploring how we produce our new EVs is integral to that process,” said project lead Frank Schwarz. “Introducing self-driving technology to the assembly line could support efficiency and safety while enabling employees to focus on critical tasks.”

We’ll have more on the Ford Cologne EV Center soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

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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  1. ViperACR

    Get the “0 Days Since Last Accident” sign ready.

  2. Mark Higdon

    Who gets fired when the inevitable accident occurs? Siri? Alexa? SYNC? The engineering team for autonomous people detection? Or the Safety Manager on the factory floor?

    1. RWFA

      If you’ve ever worked in a plant and seen how the would be Parnelli Jones’s drive off the chassis rolls you’d be amazed that the current injury rate wasn’t far higher.

      A robot system for this work will likely have very few accidents because it won’t be distracted by human thoughts and won’t feel pressure to get back to take the next car through the rolls.


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