Argo AI
Image by Argo AI

Volkswagen and Ford-backed Argo AI said this week that it is beginning operations of its new autonomous vehicle fleets in Texas and Florida – without a human safety driver. 

The vehicles will be deployed in neighborhoods in Austin and Miami, and will operate during the day instead of at night when there is less traffic. Argo AI’s competitor Cruise, which is backed by General Motors, has thus far only tested its vehicles late at night. 

Argo AI, which was founded in 2016, has been conducting tests in various cities throughout the U.S. and Europe since its inception using remodeled Volkswagen and Ford vehicles. To date, however, Argo AI’s vehicles have had a safety driver on board, but the newly-deployed fleet will have an engineer on board to control the vehicles with an app if necessary. 

Most of Argo AI’s vehicles on the road currently only have employees on board, but some Lyft passengers in Miami are able to get a ride in one of them. The rideshare service owns around 2.5% of the robotaxi company. 

Argo AI’s Chief Executive Officer Bryan Salesky said this week that the company “set out to tackle the hardest miles to drive — in multiple cities — because that’s where the density of customer demand is, and where [Argo AI’s] autonomy platform is developing the intelligence required to scale it into a sustainable business.”

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