Ford to Launch Commercial Self-Driving Cars

First commercial service set for 2021 in Austin.

September 26, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Ford Motor Co. announced that Austin, Texas, has made the short list of cities where it plans to launch a commercial transportation service made up of automated vehicles in 2021, reports Previously, the U.S. automaker said it would start transporting both people and goods in automated vehicles in Miami and Washington.

Ford's self-driving system, now being tested in Fusion Hybrid sedans, is a joint effort between the automaker and Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based startup in which Ford and Volkswagen AG together hold a majority stake.

According to Sherif Marakby, chief executive of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, Ford plans to launch the commercial transportation service in two years using a purpose-built hybrid vehicle. Development teams soon will be manually driving the Fusion test vehicles in Austin, mapping the city streets and assessing driver and pedestrian behaviors ahead of the commercial launch.

Last year, Alphabet Inc's Waymo rolled out an automated ride service with human attendants in Phoenix, using specially outfitted Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

General Motors Co's Cruise Automation had planned to roll out automated commercial vehicles in San Francisco this year, but that plan was postponed because more testing was needed.