Ford To Launch Self-Driving Taxi And Delivery Service Pilot In Austin, Texas, Report Says

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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If you were to look at the pace of autonomous vehicle technology development and headlines, General Motors and Google are both frontrunners. Just because a company isn’t at the leading edge doesn’t mean it’s out of the race altogether.

Take Ford. It’s been missing from self-driving vehicle coverage for a while. However, behind the scenes, it’s been cooking up some big goals. And it’s about to take another substantive step toward achieving them.

The race for autonomy is being used by some companies to boast about technological leadership, while others are concentrating on results first. In the past marketing is usually king, but launching untested tech might prove detrimental to the first movers in the self-driving arena.

According to a Tech Crunch report, Ford is preparing to launch a new automated driving pilot program in Austin, Texas. Of course, a company official would neither confirm nor deny the Austin expansion for TC, saying: “We are on track to announce the next deployment city in which we plan to expand our self-driving technology and business testing efforts by the end of this year. We will provide more details at the appropriate time.”

So why does it seem like Austin is the next city the blue oval is about to send a fleet of self-driving cars into? This Ford Motor Company job listing for an ‘Autonomous Vehicles – Market Specialist’ in Austin, Texas pretty much gives it away.

Currently, Ford is operating its automated vehicle pilot programs in Detroit, Miami, and Pittsburgh. The latter is home to Argo AI, a company in which Ford invested $1 billion in 2017.

It Takes A Village

Ford already has fleets of autonomous vehicles deployed around the country. What does Austin offer the locations don’t? Good BBQ and tacos in the same location? Might be better to ask Ford.

While Argo AI develops the company’s high-definition mapping and virtual driver systems, Ford meanwhile tests go-to-market strategies with the likes of Wal-Mart, Dominos, and Postmates.

Ford aims to combine the marketing plans and automated tech together into one in 2021 when it deploys self-driving taxis and delivery vehicles. The American automaker aims to spend $4 billion on this venture, $1 billion of which went to Argo AI.

Now, I know what you’re wondering: Will I have to walk outside to the self-driving Ford to collect my Dominos pizza? Until the cars come with autonomous robots, the sad answer is yes.


About the Author

  • Nick Jaynes has worked for more than a decade in automotive media industry. In that time, he's done it all—from public relations for Chevrolet to new-car reviews for Mashable. Nick now lives in Portland, Oregon and spends his weekends traversing off-road trails in his 100 Series Toyota Land Cruiser.

can be reached at nickjaynes@gmail.com
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