In mid-November, Ford Motor and Argo AI will begin mapping the city of Austin, Texas, for the safe testing of its Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles, reports CNBC.
Austin is now the third city the automaker has chosen to launch autonomous commercial vehicles in by 2021, with Miami and Washington D.C. previously targeted as launch markets.
Austin was a prime candidate because of the city’s willingness to work with the company as well as its increased congestion of late, according to the report.
With an eye on safety, the automaker and Argo play to deploy the initial self-driving vehicles with safety drivers, or “test specialists,” who actually drive the cars. The vehicles will map the city and collect data before being allowed to operate autonomously, notes the report.
The safe integration of fully autonomous vehicles on Austin roadways will take several years, according to Ford.
Ford plans to launch with all-new autonomous vehicles, not Ford Fusion Hybrids, that do not include steering wheels or pedals for a human driver, that are intended for use in commercial fleets. The automaker has said the vehicles, which will launch starting in 2021, will focus “on moving people and goods,” reports CNBC.
Ford and Argo AI also are testing self-driving vehicles in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, but do not plan to launch business operations in those cities presently, according to the report.
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