Texas A&M University has been testing a Ford F-150 that can run autonomously or by remote control.
The 2005 truck, upfit by the university’s Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution, has been driven several miles in controlled settings.
Like its larger Class 8 autonomous counterparts, the pickup undergoes testing while someone sits in the cab ready to assume control if needed, nbcdfw.com reports.
“We can actually control the vehicle using the on-board computer effectively by communicating with it a given path from a ground station,” said Professor Reza Langari, the J.R. Thompson Department Head Chair at Texas A&M’s Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution.
“Basically, you sketch out where the vehicle needs to go, those coordinates are recorded, matched by the GPS coordinates, and then the vehicle navigates itself.”
The truck can also be controlled remotely. The university has invested more than $100,000 in the pickup and plans on adding cameras and other components that will enable more autonomous features.