Ford's electric shuttles to measure foot traffic on MIT's campus

Posted at 8:28 AM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 10:06:42-04

Ford is teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a special mobility project that involves a fleet of three electric shuttles.

These on-demand Ford shuttles will have a couple of different jobs. The vehicles will help transport a select group of faculty and students around MIT's campus, and be used to measure foot traffic. 

Ford says in a news release that the electric shuttles are equipped with cameras and LiDAR sensors to help researchers figure out where on-demand rides will be needed and at which times.

LiDAR sensors, Ford notes, are more advanced than GPS sensors, because they use pulses of laser light to zero in on positioning and pedestrian movement.

The automaker says this project will not only take on-demand services to the next level, but also collect important data when it comes to pedestrian detection. That's a major plus for Ford as it can use the findings to improve its autonomous vehicle technology.

The service for select students and faculty is set to launch in September. Users will be able to schedule a ride using a smartphone app. 

More details from Ford here.