Ford Motor Co will add Austin, Texas, will become the third city where it plans to launch a commercial transportation service using automated vehicles in 2021.
Ford, which has already announce dplans to launch self-driving car programs in Miami-Dade County and Washington, D.C., is testing its self-driving system now in Fusion Hybrid sedans. The technology has been jointly developed with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based startup in which Ford and Volkswagen AG together hold a majority stake.
Sherif Marakby, chief executive of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, said Ford plans to launch the commercial transportation service in 2021 in a purpose-built hybrid vehicle that can be equipped to carry either people or goods.
Peter Rander, president of Argo AI, said development teams soon will be manually driving the Fusion test vehicles in Austin, mapping the city streets and assessing driver and pedestrian behaviors ahead of the commercial launch.
Alphabet Inc’s Waymo last year introduced an automated ride service with human attendants in Phoenix, using specially outfitted Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans it buys from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
General Motors Co’s Cruise Automation said in July it planned to delay commercial deployment of automated vehicles in San Francisco beyond its initial target of 2019 because more testing was required.