Ford and joint venture partner Argo AI recently deployed their latest self-driving test vehicle (a modified Ford Fusion) in Detroit. Argo and Ford are already testing AVs in Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, Miami, and Washington, D.C. All of the Ford/Argo vehicles have a safety driver and co-pilot in the passenger seat that monitors the vehicle’s performance.
The third generation vehicles being tested in Detroit have an upgraded set of sensors and cameras, as well as other redundant systems. Ford is targeting a 2021 launch of a L4+ autonomous vehicle that will not be aimed at consumers, but at ride-sharing fleets and package delivery companies first. Ford (and other OEMs and Tier 1s such as Intel, Continental, Samsung, Daimler, and GM) also recently opened up an innovation center in Tel Aviv to tap into the city’s vibrant technology sector, and in particular, to further develop AVs.
In what’s becoming more and more common, OEMs are forming what would have once been unthinkable partnerships with competitors to tackle the AV issue. In this case, Argo works with both Ford and Volkswagen on AVs.