Ford has become the first company to officially start testing autonomous vehicles in Washington, D.C.
The American car manufacturer is working with local officials in the U.S. capital to test its autonomous prototypes in all eight of the district’s wards.
Ford’s program is only in its early stages and is being lead by partner Argo AI. The technology company has started to map local models and, over the next year, the Blue Oval’s self-driving fleet will grow throughout the city.
To speed up the development of its self-driving technologies, Ford launched a workforce training center earlier this year that will prepare workers to operate and monitor its test vehicles on public roads and on closed courses throughout the development process. The automaker is also working to train Washington, D.C. locals for auto technician careers that will involve autonomous vehicles in the future.
“As we move forward with these initiatives, we’re fortunate to be working with Mayor Bowser,” Ford said in a Medium post.
“She and her administration have been strong supporters of new mobility initiatives, with a track record of leadership on autonomous technology. Washington, D.C., part of the Bloomberg Aspen Initiative on Cities and Autonomous Vehicles, is the first city to conduct pilots with food delivery bots, and its long-term planning calls for the District to become a test bed for self-driving vehicles and connected technology.”
Ford has also obtained the license from local authorities and is testing its autonomous vehicles in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Miami as well.