Ford announced Monday that it would begin testing its self-driving cars on the streets of Washington, DC, early next year, with a particular emphasis on “equitable deployment.”
Ford currently has vehicles on the road in DC gathering mapping data, and will begin operating those cars autonomously in the first quarter of 2019. A safety driver and a second engineer will remain in the vehicle at all times, Ford says, but the company plans to remove both when it feels confident enough in its technology. Ford has also secured a fleet terminal for its autonomous vehicles within the district. The facility will serve as a home base for Ford’s cars when they aren’t out on the streets and a place where they can transfer data and have their sensors cleaned and calibrated.
Washington will be the fourth city for Ford’s AV testing, in addition to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Miami.