Ford to test self-driving cars in Washington DC from next year

The company is hoping to launch a commercial service by 2021.

Ford is preparing to test its autonomous vehicles on the roads of Washington DC, making the automaker the first to do so in the US capital.

The company, which is already trialling its technology in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Miami, will navigate its self-driving cars around the city in early 2019 with the aim of launching a commercial service in 2021.

Ford self-driving car
The neighbourhoods of Washington DC are being mapped (Ford/PA)

Ford’s partner, Argo AI, has already started mapping roads around Washington DC’s eight neighbourhoods, in their role as developers of the self-driving system.

“The advent of self-driving vehicles promises a chance to make it more affordable and easier for people to get to jobs by filling gaps in access to public transportation, new ways to deliver food and other products, and more,” chief executive Sherif Marakby said.

“It also means change - and how we prepare for that change will greatly impact people and their communities.”

Ford to being self-driving car tests in Washington DC.
Ford is working with partner, Argo AI (Ford/PA)

As part of the move, Ford will train vehicle operators responsible for safety and monitoring of the test vehicles on public roads.

“As Washington DC continues to grow, we remain committed to exploring innovative approaches to mobility, connecting residents to job opportunities in our thriving technology scene, and building a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is working with Ford on the project.

“Through this partnership with Ford, we can ensure that as self-driving technology advances, we’re introducing it in a way that works for our community and our residents.”

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