Argo AI just launched driverless operations in Austin, Texas and Miami, two of the eight global cities in which it is currently developing its technology.
The Argo Autonomy Platform is designed for integration with multiple vehicle form factors. Partnering with Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG, it’s working to develop high-quality, reliable and safe operations. The Argo test fleet is currently made up of the Ford Escape Hybrid and VW’s all-electric ID.Buzz.
“Argo is first to go driverless in two major American cities, safely operating amongst heavy traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists in the busiest of neighborhoods,” said Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI.
“From day one, we set out to tackle the hardest miles to drive — in multiple cities — because that’s where the density of customer demand is, and where our autonomy platform is developing the intelligence required to scale it into a sustainable business.”
After five years of development, the company’s vehicles are operating without a driver, during daytime business hours, while sharing the road with many others using Argo Autonomy Platform. The company believes the program’s expansion to two cities “marks an important step” in merging the technology, the operational footprint, and the commercial partners to create a viable business model that can grow.
Competitors move ahead with tests
The company faces tough competition in the segment with multiple companies all chasing the same gold ring: reliable self-driving vehicle technology.
Last winter, Cruise, General Motors’ self-driving unit, began offering rides in autonomous vehicles without “safety drivers” as it took the first steps towards what GM executives say is the first step towards a potentially lucrative business opportunity that also will save lives by reducing the number of fatal accidents, which claimed more than 42,000 lives last year — the highest total since 2005.
Waymo, the self-driving company created by Google, is testing autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, and last week began to re-deploy a fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Phoenix, Arizona.
Ridesharing a key target
Argo says it plans to offer a full suite of products to help businesses of any size to businesses improve their operations using the Argo Avs with a set of applications known as Argo Connect Services.
With Argo Connect, ridesharing, delivery and logistics companies integrates Argo autonomous vehicles into their own digital services. Argo’s Autonomy Solutions also give customers real-time trip visibility and support.
Argo’s operations now cover Miami, Austin, and Washington, D.C. and currently reaches more than 2 million people and thousands of businesses. As the company expands to encompass the entire metropolitan area, its service coverage will grow to more than 15 million people.
In addition to Miami, Austin, and D.C., Argo operates in five other big cities in the U.S. and Europe including Pittsburgh; Detroit; Palo Alto, California as well as Munich and Hamburg, Germany — enabling the technology to learn from a diversity of road infrastructure and driving behaviors, establishing a robust data set that supports rapid expansion worldwide.
For instance, Argo autonomous vehicles operating on Lyft’s rideshare network in Miami Beach navigate complex traffic scenarios with the following frequencies of total trips. In addition, Argo operations span some of the largest rideshare and goods delivery markets in the U.S., including Miami, which in 2021, the second largest rideshare market Washington, D.C. one of the top five, and Austin, which is among the top 20.
Argo technology serves customers every day through collaborations with Lyft and Walmart. These partnerships also include integration with backend cloud infrastructure to connect the Argo fleet with partners’ digital services for seamless interaction and customer engagement.