Earlier this month, I had the chance to visit Detroit and see the Motor City from a new perspective when I stepped into the backseat of one of our self-driving test vehicles. Our new Ford Fusion Hybrid is a third-generation test vehicle that Argo AI is now deploying in collaboration with Ford in all five major cities we’re operating in: Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, Miami, Washington, D.C., and now Detroit – where we’re expanding our testing footprint in Michigan beyond Dearborn.
Riding through the historic Corktown neighborhood and passing Michigan Central Station on our way downtown, I couldn’t help but be struck by this milestone. Almost three decades after I left the automotive industry in Detroit and began researching computer vision and other self-driving technologies at Carnegie Mellon University, here I was back in my old haunt, experiencing our latest creation as it navigated streets and routed itself past new construction projects. A new form of transportation striving to emerge in a city that’s also in the midst of its own stunning transformation.
I grew up in western Michigan and went to college at what’s now the University of Detroit Mercy. My first experience in the automotive industry involved witnessing how new technology was integrated into cars, which inspired me to think about how we could take advantage of even more advanced ideas. With self-driving vehicles, that’s exactly what we’re doing now at Argo, working hand-in-hand with automakers like Ford.
This has never been more apparent to me than with our new, third-generation of test vehicles. They’re not only outfitted with new technology that’s a step closer to production specification, but also modifications that are designed to help ensure they stay safe through a variety of conditions.
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SOURCE: Ford Motor Company