Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Self-Driving Taxis to Arrive in Miami-Dade This Winter

Ford, Lyft and Argo AI announced that they would begin deploying autonomous ‘robotaxis’ as early as this winter. But for now, the self-driving vehicles will have a safety driver and technology monitor in the front seats.

(TNS) — Miami-Dade, Fla., just got one step closer to a future filled with driverless vehicles.

Ford, Lyft and the autonomous driving technology group Argo AI announced Wednesday they would begin deploying self-driving ridehail cars in Miami-Dade, as well as Austin, Tex., this winter.

For now, passengers who order up self-driving Lyfts will not be alone in the vehicle: A safety driver ready to take over the wheel, as well as a technology monitor, will be in the front seats. Choosing a so-called “robotaxi” comes at no extra charge and there are no preset routes.

Fewer than 100 vehicles will be available initially, and the exact areas where the Lyfts will be made available have not yet been selected.

The announcement is a significant step forward toward a long-promised future where ridehail vehicles pick up passengers on their own. And it once again puts Miami-Dade at the forefront, three years after Ford first announced it had selected the Magic City as a primary testbed for its self-driving vehicle technology. Ford and Argo AI officials have previously said they chose Miami-Dade not only because it allowed them to test their technology year-round, but because driving conditions here are notoriously unpredictable.

“As us locals like to say: ‘If you can drive in Miami, you can drive anywhere,’” Alex Buznego, Ford’s Miami-based autonomous vehicle market manager for Ford Motor Company, wrote in March.

By exposing Argo AI’s self-driving system to the unique and challenging situations in Miami, he said, Ford gets closer to scaling its technology to other cities across the country.

“Every day, Argo AI encounters a variety of scenarios that we don’t experience in other cities. Miami is known for heavy traffic, fast driving cars and many pedestrians and cyclists,” Buznego said.

The deployment represents the first commercial operation in a major city in the race to roll out autonomous fleets. The only other ridehailing operation currently operating continuously is in Chandler, Ariz., near Phoenix, where Google parent company Alphabet has set up a self-driving minivan service to ferry locals.
“This collaboration marks the first time all the pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle have come together this way,“ Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green said in a statement on Wednesday. “Each company brings the scale, knowledge and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality.”

Over the next five years, the trio hope to use what they’ve learned in Miami-Dade to deploy at least 1,000 autonomous vehicles in multiple markets.

“These three companies share a belief that autonomous vehicles will be a key enabler for a cleaner, safer and more efficient urban mobility landscape,” said Scott Griffith, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses, in a statement.

©2021 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
Sponsored
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Sponsored
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
Sponsored
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Sponsored
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Sponsored
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
Sponsored
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Sponsored
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Sponsored
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
Sponsored
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?