Argo AI receives permit to test autonomous vehicles in California

Argo AI, the tech company building Ford Motor Co.’s self-driving system, will soon test autonomous vehicles in California.

The company received a testing permit Tuesday from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test on public roads, according to the agency’s records.

A spokesperson says the company will have a handful of vehicles on roads near the automaker’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif., as testing gets underway.

California marks Argo’s fifth testing location. So far, the company is testing in Pittsburgh and Dearborn, Mich., for r&d purposes, while it is testing in Miami and Washington, D.C., as part of a ramp-up toward Ford’s commercial service that’s supposed to begin in 2021.

Previously, Ford has said a third city on its road map for offering commercial services underpinned by autonomous vehicles would be announced later this year, though the new testing in Palo Alto is not necessarily an indication that the Bay Area is next in line for that service.

Spread among its five testing locations, Argo expects to have more than 100 vehicles in its collective testing fleet by the end of 2019.

Ford invested $1 billion in Argo AI in February 2017, shortly after the company was founded by Bryan Salesky, a former member of Google’s self-driving car project, and Pete Rander, formerly of Uber. Argo AI becomes the 62nd company to hold a permit to test in California.

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