Lawmakers are helping to push autonomous car development.
Testing an autonomous car requires government approval and can only be conducted in certain states and countries that allow it. We've seen that autonomous car testing can go wrong, so it's no surprise that certain US states are hesitant to allow it to take place on their roads.
Ford is currently testing a fleet of autonomous cars in Miami, Florida, including a self-driving pizza delivery vehicle for Domino's Pizza. The US-based automaker is looking to expand its self-driving fleet and has now received approval to conduct tests in the US capital, Washington, DC.
Ford had to work closely with lawmakers to explore how self-driving cars could be made safely, be deployed equitably around Washington, and be used to promote job creation. The development of these vehicles will require vehicle operators to watch over the test vehicles and technicians to help repair them, which should help the local economy and provide jobs.
Along with its partner, Argo AI, Ford will seek to develop self-driving cars with the goal of having commercial service by 2021. This, coincidentally, also happens to be the same year Volkswagen is targeting for its self-driving cars in the US.
Argo AI has already begun mapping out the roads so the cars will know the city inside and out. Over the next year, Washington will start to fill up with autonomous cars as Ford expands the number of test areas. Lawmakers in Washington hope autonomous cars will serve the local economy by working as taxis, delivery vehicles, and even more functions that have yet to be discovered.
Some people may also see this as a tourist attraction for visitors who do not get to see autonomous cars testing where they live. This is a very important announcement for Ford, one which will help the company push towards an autonomous future.