Ford has announced a partnership with government officials in Washington, DC to begin testing its self-driving cars and "work toward deployment of a commercial service in 2021".
Ford's partner Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle (AV) startup, a result of a $1bn investment from Ford, has developed the AV system which has already been piloted in Detroit, Miami and Pittsburgh. Washington, DC will become the fourth city for Ford's AV testing.
In a blog post, Ford Autonomous Vehicles CEO Sherif Marakby said that it was working alongside local officials in DC and are committed to deploying self-driving vehicles across DC to promote job creation.
Marakby stated that Argo AI have deployed vehicles on DC streets, mapping the roads as its first step toward testing the system.
The development of self-driving cars "promises a chance to make it more affordable and easier for people to get to jobs by filling gaps in access to public transportation, new ways to deliver food and other products, and more" Marakby said. "It also means change – and how we prepare for that change will greatly impact people and their communities."
Marakby said: "Expanding our operations into Washington, DC is an enormous opportunity to understand how a comprehensive self-driving business could be utilized.
"The city is one of the largest markets in the US, with its population growing significantly during working hours as people commute from the suburbs or take the subway," he added.