Since its founding in 1999, a small company in Saline, Michigan, has worked on the cutting edge of mobile robotics for numerous clients, including the military. Although not widely known to the public, Quantum Signal helped the military develop software that allowed it to remotely control robotic vehicles from thousands of miles away. It even built a robust simulation environment capable of testing autonomous vehicle designs that’s still in use today.
While Quantum Signal has operated in relative obscurity over the past couple of decades, its work has been on the radar at Ford Motor Company for a while now, according to a statement on the Ford website. Over the past few years, the automaker has been assembling a team of uniquely qualified experts in software development, simulation and machine learning from all around the world as it accelerates autonomous vehicle development—and last week Ford announced the squad is getting even bigger and more formidable.
To further advance its goal of launching a self-driving vehicle business, Ford has acquired Quantum Signal and will make use of its extensive experience in real-time simulation and algorithm development, as well as robotics, sensing and perception technology. The wide range of the group’s work portfolio means it will be able to support Ford in numerous areas as the company develops self-driving vehicles and transportation as a service business, including software development and hardware prototyping.
Ford says that it plans on leveraging Quantum Signal’s experience in real-time simulation and algorithm development to develop its Transportation as a Service (TaaS) platform, as well as vehicle controls that support the customer experience, functional safety and other vehicle systems.
“The wide range of the group’s work portfolio means it will be able to support Ford in numerous areas as the company develops self-driving vehicles and transportation as a service business, including software development and hardware prototyping,” Ford stated in an online publication by Randy Visintainer, Chief Technical Officer, Ford Autonomous Vehicles.
Quantum Signal is well known for its ANVEL modeling and simulation environment, which military robotics programs have used to explore the performance of unmanned remote and autonomous systems, according to Ford.
The automaker says that all of Quantum Signal’s work can be repurposed to support its self-driving vehicles, to help improve their ability to analyze the environment around them, and that the previously obscure company will have a big impact in advancing Ford’s self-driving vehicle development while also representing the company’s commitment to nurturing the talent needed to successfully deploy this technology.