Patent reveals new idea for Ford’s self-driving cars

Ford has designed a side mirror that offers a view of what’s in front of a car. Well, not the mirror itself, but the LIDAR that’s hidden inside its housing.

A patent application first reported on by CNET reveals the concept that could find its way onto the autonomous vehicles Ford is planning to introduce as early as 2021.

Until now, Ford’s self-driving test cars, like those of many automakers, have been equipped with unsightly and un-aerodynamic sensor arrays that include LIDAR pucks, which emit invisible laser beams to create 3D images of their surroundings.

Ford's self-driving vehicle service platform will be a far-reaching ecosystem that allows a variety of companies — from large to small — to tap into it to enhance their business.

Ford’s self-driving vehicle service platform will be a far-reaching ecosystem that allows a variety of companies — from large to small — to tap into it to enhance their business.

The patent depicts the range of vision of the pair of LIDARs to cover the sides and front of the car, but doesn’t indicate where any rear-facing equipment would be installed. The housing has also been constructed of materials that reduce electromagnetic interference.

And while it may seem redundant to have mirrors on an autonomous car that doesn’t actually need them, they are required by current regulations and would allow for a driver to take manual control.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

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