The Ford F-150 is an epic truck, and if you disagree, ask America, which has had it as the top-selling vehicle for over 40 years. But what could possibly make these things even cooler? How about autonomous driving, not just on highways but anywhere? That’s precisely what Kodiak Robotics’ autonomous Ford F-150 can do. This particular prototype was built for the United States Department of Defense to test driverless vehicles in treacherous situations, and things appear to be going well.
Kodiak Self-Driving Ford F-150 Tested By DOD
I the tech works as intended, it could enable the Army to perform reconnaissance missions and ground surveillance on tricky terrain without endangering soldiers. Kodiak won a $50-million bid to supply the U.S. Department of Defense with two of these vehicles designed to thrive where other AVs don’t. The Blacked out Ford F-150 is especially capable in areas with “degraded GPS,” which gives it a crucial advantage over machines that rely entirely on pre-mapped routes or remote operators.
Kodiak’s own defense-specialized SensorPods enable this Ford F-150 to perform where other vehicles would fail. This, combined with LiDAR, radar, and cameras that read the surroundings in real-time, results in a truck that can go anywhere without the assistance of humans. Outside of the hardware above, Kodiak hasn’t revealed any other specifics about the truck, which isn’t all that surprising. That said, you can’t have an autonomous truck that can traverse just about any terrain without some off-road modifications to the vehicle.
The images show that the Ford F-150 rides on BF Goodrich KO2 tires; it also features a steel front bumper, essential for proper off-road vehicles. What’s most interesting about this self-driving Ford F-150 is that it was developed in just six months. The modular, “Vehicle agnostic” autonomous system made that possible.
These Ford F-150s have been tested on a U.S. military base since November. If you’re interested in seeing the prototype in action, check out the video below, which shows just how cool this thing really is.