Ford to Conduct Self-Driving Testing in Washington, D.C.
Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, announced in a post on Medium on Monday that the automaker will become the first to test self-driving vehicles in Washington, D.C. with the establishment of a self-driving vehicle business that will accommodate the needs of residents of the nation’s capital.
“The advent of self-driving vehicles 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 writes. “It also means change — and how we prepare for that change will greatly impact people and their communities.”
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Marakby writes that Ford will test its autonomous vehicles in the eight wards of the district with the intention of eventually operating business pilots in each one. Argo AI is already setting about the task of mapping D.C.’s roads, and testing proper is expected to roll out gradually over the next year.
Ford will also be working with Ward 8’s D.C. Infrastructure Academy to train a workforce of vehicle operators who will help in conducting the tests, and its Automotive Career Exploration program is partnering with Excel Automotive in Ward 7 to develop courses for auto technician training. Marakby notes that the company has established an operations terminal in Ward 5, and that its progress in the capital will be informed by the progress of its pilot in Miami-Dade County.
“[E]xpanding our operations into Washington, D.C., is an enormous opportunity to understand how a comprehensive self-driving business could be utilized,” Marakby writes. “The city is one of the largest markets in the United States, with its population growing significantly during working hours as people commute from the suburbs or take the subway. Outside of commuters, there are millions of visitors every year, major conferences, a popular food scene, and high demand for ride-hailing and delivery services.”
News Source: Medium