Last week, Ford Motor Company (Ford) announced its partnership with Washington, D.C.’s city government to start testing self-driving cars in the beginning of 2019. Ford’s self-driving startup business, Argo AI, has already started mapping the city. To date, self-driving cars have only been tested in suburbs and smaller cities. Ford plans to launch its self-driving ride service in 2021 and Washington D.C. will be its second launch city after Miami, Florida, where Ford is already testing.
However, D.C. presents a unique challenge –driving in cities is significantly harder than in suburbs or highways because the environment is more complex because of pedestrians, cyclists and scooters. But at the same time, Washington D.C. is effectively a city, county and state all in one, so it will face fewer layers of regulation and potential hurdles prior to launch.