Argo AI, a startup specializing in auto-driving solutions and supported by auto giants Volkswagen and Ford, has received permission to work in cars moving on public roads in the US state of California. The permit provides for the presence of a person behind the wheel and allows you to take passengers without charging them for a trip.
Permit issued by the California Public Utilities Commission. The document allows the production of vehicles equipped with autonomous driving systems on public roads. However, at the same time, the requirement remains that at the time of the activated autopilot, a person is at the wheel of the car, who is able to take control in a critical situation. The document was issued shortly after Ford partnered with Argo to get permission to launch autonomous taxis in Miami and Austin.
This decision, in fact, is a signal that the automotive industry (at least some companies) is preparing to transfer autopilot technologies to commercial rails. Argo engineers have been testing their solution on Ford vehicles since 2019 in Palo Alto, California. At the moment, only in California, about a dozen cars are involved in the company’s project. In addition to Miami and Austin, similar projects have already started in Pittsburgh, Detroit and the city of Washington.
Similar approvals have already been obtained by Aurora, AutoX, Deeproute, Pony.ai, Voyage, Zoox and Waymo, and in all cases the requirement for a person to drive remains. You can also take passengers on board, that is, work as a taxi, but you are not allowed to take a fare. The requirement to have a person at the wheel does not apply only to a Cruise company with a higher permit. And at the next level is permission for the commercial operation of unmanned taxis – such permits in California have not yet been issued.