Ford releases a data set to accelerate autonomous car development

This week, Ford quietly released a corpus — the Ford Autonomous Vehicle Dataset — containing data collected from its fleet of autonomous cars in the Greater Detroit Area. The data set, which is freely available to researchers, could be used to improve the robustness of self-driving cars in urban environments.

To create the data set, engineers drove Ford Fusion Hybrids equipped with four quad-core Intel i7 processors and 16GB of RAM roughly 66 kilometers (41 miles) to and from the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airpot, the University of Michigan Dearborn campus, and residential communities. Minor variations to the route were introduced to capture a “diverse” set of features. Data was chiefly captured with four lidar sensors (which measure the distance to a target by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflected light), six 1.3-megapixel cameras, one 5-megapixel camera, and an inertial measurement unit.