Ford has found its next test site for its autonomous vehicles: the city of Austin in Texas, USA. The automaker said Wednesday, September 25, 2019 that autonomous vehicles will initially circulate in manual mode to properly map the streets of the city and take its pulse.
After Miami and Washington DC , Austin (Texas, USA ) is the third market on which Ford will test its autonomous vehicles. The announcement of these tests, conducted in collaboration with Argo AI, was made by the manufacturer Wednesday, September 25, 2019. Ford is working closely with this start-up in which he announced wanting to invest $ 1 billion in 2017 . Argo AI uses machine learning to develop a reconnaissance system so that the autonomous vehicle detects pedestrians and other vehicles around them.
AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES IN MANUAL MODE
At first, autonomous vehicles will circulate in manual mode east of the city and in the city center. Sensors mounted on the vehicle allow for 3D and HD mapping of streets, buildings and static and permanent objects. It also gives them a clear understanding of the environment in which autonomous vehicles will evolve and to gain insight into the situations they will face. In Austin there are many pedestrians, cyclists and electric scooters that can complicate the situations encountered by the autonomous vehicle. In a second time, the tests will be extended to other parts of the city.
However, Ford does not specify the number of autonomous vehicles that it plans to deploy in the city nor when it hopes to achieve real tests in autonomous mode. Beyond the development of the technology itself, the automaker also seeks to understand how it can best deploy its autonomous vehicles in the city. Ford says that before launching such a service, he needs to understand the benefits that local residents and entrepreneurs will derive from it.
Austin is an interesting field of experimentation as the city grows and the number of vehicles used in this city could double by 2040 while the capacity of roads would only increase by 15%, according to Ford. The American company wants to find how a fleet of autonomous vehicles can at best fit into the city, whether to offer a service of folding people to transport or a home delivery service.