Ford To Create Artificial Intelligence Team for Autonomous Tech Development

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Ford Motor Company plans to accelerate its autonomous technology development by creating a Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team. The original Detroit automaker fully understands the future of automobile technology and does not plan on missing out on the growing opportunities. Ken Washington, Ford's Vice President of research and advanced engineering and Chief Technology Officer, stated, “the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on the way we get around  —  even in just the next five to 10 years  —  is potentially enormous.”

So, to get ahead of the curve, Ford is collaborating with Argo AI, a startup artificial intelligence company. Argo was co-founded by Bryan Salesky, a former Google autonomous car project team member, and Peter Rander, an engineer for Uber. Per The Detroit News, Washington says that Ford's Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team will work with Argo, who will lead the development and design of the brains of Ford’s self driving vehicles, in an effort to advance the automaker's autonomous technology. More specifically, Washington writes on his blog that the main functions of the team will be to evaluate and analyze vehicle sensor technology, machine learning methods, and the development of personal mobility devices, drones and other aerial robotic mechanisms. The team will be working in Dearborn, Michigan with a small branch located next to University of Michigan’s MCity research center for autonomous and connected vehicles.

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Ford plans to have its self driving vehicle available to the market by 2021. The car will be fully autonomous, and will not include a steering wheel or pedals. Washington told The Detroit Free Press that they are making great progress toward their goal. He stated that the first fleet will most likely be released within the confines of a “geofence,” or virtual geographic boundary, inside a city or campus.

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However, the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence team may not only be limited to the advancement of autonomous technology. Ford plans to use the team for ergonomic research as well. The company wants robots to take the place of workers in roles that are more dangerous and life-threatening, in the hopes of reducing worker injuries and in building a safer working environment for all everyone. Aside from their work with Argo, Ford wants its team to continue building relationships with other startup companies and even lead projects with universities including Stanford University, M.I.T., University of Michigan, Purdue University, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and others.

Ford clearly has grand ambitions for the near future and is making bold moves to ensure that they will be successful in their driver-less car pursuits. While autonomous vehicles may help reduce the number of car accident fatalities in the future, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94% of highway crashes are currently caused by human error. So, until automakers like Ford are successful in implementing autonomous cars into our everyday lives, humans must remember to follow the rules of the road.


Ford should be proud of its Ford Fusion series, one of the main models that is being converted to become autonomous. This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a 5 star safety rating, and the U.S. News gave it a 9.3 out of 10. It is important to note however that while these are excellent safety ratings, no vehicle is considered to be invincible. Any vehicle controlled by a human is potentially prone to being involved in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident or accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our firm helps car accidents identify and receive any benefits they may be intitled to, under Michigan law.

Autonomous Vehicles are Being Tricked by Manipulated Traffic Signs

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A developing threat to autonomous vehicles has demanded more attention from engineers recently. Graffiti and stickers partially covering traffic signs, or re-imaging signs in some cases, is being seen to confuse autonomous vehicles and causing them to read the signs wrong. According to DailyMail, a study conducted by the University of Washington concluded that slight variations to signs, or signs that have been manipulated, can cause artificial intelligence (AI) systems (the technology that drives autonomous vehicles) to malfunction. 

In one of the studies, the words ‘love’ and ‘hate were placed on a stop sign above and below the word ‘STOP’. After doing this, the researchers reported that the smart vehicle misread the sign as a ‘speed limit 45’ sign. The researchers tried another experiment by copying a right hand turn arrow that mimicked the real sign, but they slightly altered the color of the arrow. The color variation caused the AI system to mistake the right turn sign for a stop sign. 

The experiments were intended to point out that the AI systems found in these autonomous vehicles can be easily deceived by slight alterations to traffic signs. Even signs with a minimal amount of graffiti that would otherwise be legible to humans can potentially cause a smart vehicle to ignore it or misread it. The researchers hope that by conducting this study automakers will be made aware of this issue, and they hope automakers will figure out ways to program defense mechanisms inside the AI technology to prevent such cases from occurring. The fear with this issue is that unless automakers can program AI systems to detect signs despite graffiti-ridden, hackers can potentially manipulate signs to cause automobile accidents. The researchers stated that both experiments did not include any special resources, “just need access to a color printer and a camera.” Anyone who has access to these two things can manipulate traffic signs to do harm to the general public. It is essential that automakers work toward amending these issues within artificial intelligence systems and mitigate risks facing the public.

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DailyMail also reports that in addition to manipulated traffic signs confusing autonomous vehicles, other growing fears related to autonomous cars include hackers being able to gain access to personal information through a vehicle's AI system or steal a car through key-less entry. Martin Callanan, United Kingdom’s appointed Minister of Transport, weighed in on the issue stating, “we need to make sure that the designs of the vehicles in the first place are completely cyber secure so that people can't break into them, they can't steal them and more importantly they can't hack them to potentially cause accidents.”

Autonomous technology is groundbreaking innovation that will have a very positive impact on the way individuals transport, yet there is still progress to be made. This study conducted by the University of Washington is very important and identifies a tremendous problem facing self navigating technology. The value of this study is that it brings this issue to light during what still is the early stages of autonomous vehicle development. Automakers must be aware of this issue, as well as other potential dangers facing AI systems, so they may develop programs and defense mechanisms for the safety of citizens and the general public.


Issues facing autonomous technology are becoming more prevalent as the future of self-driving vehicles approaches. Yet, until the majority of society does shift toward autonomous vehicle transportation, the most important risk facing drivers is human error and the threat of a car accident. Have you been involved in an automobile accident? Call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM. for a free consultation.

ROSS Artificial Intelligence Joins Legal World

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Artificial Intelligence may play a large role in shaping the future of the legal field. Law firm Baker & Hostetler has announced that they will be using IBM’s Al Ross to handle their bankruptcy practice, which consists of nearly 50 lawyers.

 “At Baker & Hostetler, we believe that emerging technologies like cognitive computing and other forms of machine learning can help enhance the services we deliver to our clients,” Baker & Hostetler chief information officer Bob Craig explained. 

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Ross has been built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson and is designed to read and understand language, formulate hypotheses when asked questions, conduct research, and generate responses in order to back up its conclusions. Ross also improves with age, as it learns from its experiences and gains knowledge with more interaction. 

“You ask your questions in plain English, as you would a colleague, and ROSS then reads through the entire body of law and returns a cited answer and topical readings from legislation, case law and secondary sources to get you up-to-speed quickly. In addition, ROSS monitors the law around the clock to notify you of new court decisions that can affect your case,” ROSS website says. 

Ross will also serve as a time efficiency tool, as it will be capable of narrowing down results from a thousand answers to a handful of the most relevant answers and then translates them into an understandable language. As artificial intelligence software like Ross grows, it is expected that more law firms to buy into the system to save money, time, and expand their legal capabilities.


While technology has come a long way and will certainly change the way law is practiced, nothing can replace the personal care and support that a law firm can offer a client. If you or somebody you know has been involved in an auto, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys will go out of their way to get you the help that you need and will be readily available to answer any questions that you may have. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.