Ford is the latest to demonstrate some of its upcoming autonomous car technology. The automaker will gradually roll out its self-driving technology, starting with simple parking assist and obstacle avoidance systems. Like many automakers, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] sees autonomous car technology as a means to aid the driver rather than take complete control away.

The autonomous obstacle avoidance system, for example, is used to avoid slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians, first by issuing a warning to the driver and then by automatically controlling the steering and brakes if the driver fails to take heed of the warning.

Another system in the making is the autonomous parking assist. This system enables a driver to park his or her car in tricky situations--without even being in the vehicle. By sensing its surroundings, cars equipped with the parking assist system can measure up a spot and then manoeuvre themselves into autonomously. As the video demonstrates, the system operates steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion.

Both systems rely on an array of devices including radar and camera monitoring systems, complex computer logic systems and actuators to control the steering and brakes. Ford says the technology allows its cars to monitor the road up to 200 meters (656 feet) ahead.

The systems are still being trialed by researchers though the results are expected to be presented by the end of the year. In addition to this research, Ford is also take part in a project with the U.S. Department of Transportation looking at Car 2 Car communications technology, which also aims to reduce the rate of accidents.


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