Ford Motor stated on Wednesday it will include Austin, Texas, to the short list of cities where it prepares to start a commercial transportation service utilizing automated vehicles in 2021.
The U.S. automaker earlier stated it would start transporting people and goods in automated vehicles in Miami and Washington.
Ford’s self-driving system, currently being tested in Fusion Hybrid sedans, is being jointly developed with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based startup in which Ford and Volkswagen AG both hold a majority stake.
Sherif Marakby, chief executive of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, stated Ford plans to release the commercial transportation service in 2021 in a purpose-built hybrid vehicle that can be geared up to carry either people or goods.
Peter Rander, president of Argo AI, stated development teams soon will be manually driving the Fusion test vehicles in Austin, mapping the city streets and evaluating driver and pedestrian behaviors prior to the commercial launch.
Alphabet Inc’s Waymo last year came up with an automated ride service with human attendants in Phoenix, using specially outfitted Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans it purchases from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
General Motors’s Cruise Automation stated in July it planned to delay commercial deployment of automated vehicles in San Francisco beyond its initial target of this year as more testing was needed.