Ford's Making a Robot That Can Fly and Drive Itself, Not Without Cost Control

Ford’s plans have now been made public. The American automaker wants to build a multifunctional robot that’s going to fly or drive itself according to the values shown by the predetermined cost of the route. Here’s the deal and why it may prove to be very useful in the long run.
Ford Plans on Making a New Robot 6 photos
Photo: Christopher Burns on Unsplash
Ford's Patented RobotFord's Patented Robot Coordinating Itself After a MapFord's Patented Robot TrainingDroneDrone
A recently disclosed United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filing shows Ford is more than ready to build a robot that’ll help with moving things from one place to another either by flying or by driving itself to the destination. The Michigan-based carmaker decided that everything this programmable machine will do will be based on keeping costs at a minimum in every possible aspect.

For instance, the document shows the robot will be able to navigate areas by using an Occupancy Grid Map. This provides the machine with the necessary info but still allows for human takeover in cases when it’s not ready to make the best decision. The robot, according to the drawings that can be found in the attached USPTO filing, will have wheels and propellers or wings. In the final version, the unit can also have tracks, claws, tentacles, or grippers that allow the multifunctional robot to travel over various types of ground surfaces like roads, pavements, dirt areas, lawns, and traverse objects, such as a ramp, a staircase, or an escalator.

Essentially, Ford has patented a drone with wheels and a camera that will also incorporate a LiDAR sensor to accurately scan the surfaces it’s about to travel on. The machine will receive a mission to transport something, and after this step, it’ll take the necessary measures to either fly or drive to the destination. Using 2D or 3D travel route planning, the next-level drone will transport everything it has to take from one point to another like a good little robot.

Ford’s actively looking towards cost-cutting since it’s going all-in on EVs and must keep any kind of spending under strict control. This robot might help with eliminating a lot of human travel between buildings of the same factory or from a nearby supplier to the plant.

Further details about the navigation technology this new robot will use can be read in the USPTO document available down below.
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Editor's note: Some images shown are for representation purposes only.

 Download: Ford's Patent for a New Robot (PDF)

About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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