Argo AI, a self-driving technology startup supported by Ford and Volkswagen Group, reached a major milestone in May. The company’s prototypes are now completely driverless in Austin and Miami, where they encounter not only heavy vehicle traffic but also large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists.
In the case of Miami, the Argo AI already has prototypes operating in the fleet fleet, especially in the Miami Beach area where the prototypes face the construction area in about two-thirds of all rides.
Other U.S. cities that have prototypes of the Argo AI test include Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Palo Alto, and Detroit. The company also tested prototypes in the German cities of Munich and Hamburg. This global reach will help the company’s self-driving system learn from the diversity of road infrastructure and driving behavior, which will help expand the system to more areas, the company said.
“From day one, we’ve set out to tackle the toughest miles of driving in multiple cities, because that’s where the concentration of customer demand is and where our autonomous platform is developing the intelligence needed to make it a sustainable business,” said Brian Selsky, Argo AI. The CEO and founder, said in a statement.
Argo AI is building a complete self-driving system, combining both software and hardware. A major advantage of the Argo AI is its leader system, which can accurately detect objects more than 1,300 feet away and can detect objects more than 300 feet away from current leader sensors – essential for highway driving.
The system is at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving ability. Level 4 cars can run entirely on their own, although only in certain situations, the main one is usually a geofenced area. The highest ranking is a Level 5 car that will be able to operate on its own in all cases of the same conditions a person expects.
Argo AI uses Ford Escape Crossovers and Volkswagen ID.Buzz van for prototyping. The first self-driving ID.Buzz vans are scheduled to hit U.S. roads for testing in 2023
Ford is expected to offer its first commercial service using Argo AI’s self-driving system in early 2022, although the automaker did not say where. VW Group plans to launch its first service in 2025 in Hamburg using Argo AI’s self-driving system. The service will be an automated taxi service with ridepooling.