Ford Motor Company (F - Free Report) has selected Austin, TX, as the third city to test and deploy self-driving vehicles. It plans to launch automated commercial vehicles in 2021. Initially, Ford and its autonomous vehicle subsidiary Agro AI will start mapping the streets of downtown Austin. Later, it will carry out data validation and on-road testing.
There are two primary reasons why Austin was selected. The first being the city’s willingness to work with Ford and second, the rising population of the city which is making it congested. Crowded streets will help the company address issues and understand the obstacles in the city.
Ford and Agro AI formerly declared Miami and Washington DC as the other launch markets.
At first, the self-driving vehicles will have “test specialists” who will drive the vehicle. After the vehicles map the city and gather all data, they will operate autonomously.
The company plans to introduce a model for autonomous driving without pedals or steering wheels that are intended for use in commercial fleet.
Ford’s strategy to launch self-driving vehicles in multiple cities is different from that of General Motors (GM - Free Report) Cruise and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) Waymo. Cruise and Waymo are focusing on a single city before they venture out.
Ford is actively working to introduce newer models of autonomous vehicles. These initiatives are likely to enhance the prospects of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) firm. Few months back, Ford announced a partnership with Volkswagen AG (VWAGY - Free Report) under which the latter will invest $2.6 billion in the U.S. auto giant’s autonomous-car partner. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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