- Pittsburgh-based startup Argo AI has revealed its third-generation autonomous vehicle (AV), a Ford Fusion Hybrid outfitted with upgraded computer systems that are "closer to production specification." That includes a redesigned sensor suite to incorporate higher resolution and higher dynamic range cameras.
- The new AVs, being tested in collaboration with Ford, have upgraded safety features, like redundant braking and steering systems that maintain control in the event of a unit failure.
- The new vehicle is used in the cities where Argo AI has approval to test on public streets: Pittsburgh; Palo Alto, CA; Miami; and Washington, DC. Founder Peter Rander also announced that Argo will expand testing in Michigan from Dearborn to Detroit.
Argo, founded in 2016 by veterans from Google and Uber, is developing the driving and sensor systems for Ford’s self-driving cars, boosted by a $1 billion investment from the automaker. The company is testing a fleet of roughly 100 vehicles nationwide with the aim of supporting a planned Ford self-driving taxi outfit in the next few years.
The third-generation vehicle represents a step forward for Argo’s technology, and focuses on both the sensing and driver experience. The upgraded radar and camera suite allows for the cars to have significantly higher resolution for faraway objects. In a blog post, Rander said that "means our vehicles are getting better at seeing what’s farther ahead and classifying what it is."
For drivers, the upgraded computer system includes thermal management systems to reduce heat and noise inside the vehicle.
Most of Argo's testing has taken place in Pittsburgh, although the expansion to Detroit will allow for a new environment. Ford has made the historic Corktown neighborhood a hub for its AV and electric vehicle (EV) development, including plans for a "mobility corridor" to test its technology. Rander said that Detroit will help Argo test its vehicles on "an astounding diversity of road types," since the city contains "almost every kind of road you can expect to see."