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.
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
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.