Argo AI commenced driverless operations in Miami and Austin, two of the eight global cities in which it is currently developing its technology.
“Argo is first to go driverless in two major American cities, safely operating amongst heavy traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists in the busiest of neighborhoods,” said Bryan Salesky, Founder and CEO, Argo AI. “From day one, we set out to tackle the hardest miles to drive — in multiple cities — because that’s where the density of customer demand is, and where our autonomy platform is developing the intelligence required to scale it into a sustainable business.”
Reaching the point to operate without a driver, during daytime business hours, while sharing the road with many others, is the result of more than five years of progress on the Argo Autonomy Platform. With multiple customer-facing pilot programs operating in Miami and Austin, this milestone marks an important step in the company’s plan to bring together the technology, the operational footprint, and the commercial partners needed to achieve a scalable autonomy business.
Argo offers a full suite of products and services to enable businesses of any size to improve their operations using Argo autonomous vehicles. Through a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) known as Argo Connect, ridesharing, delivery and logistics companies can seamlessly integrate Argo autonomous vehicles into their own digital services.
Beyond safely driving the fleet using Argo’s Autonomy Platform, Argo has a portfolio of Autonomy Solutions to help businesses manage in-market services and depot operations. Argo’s Autonomy Solutions give customers real-time trip visibility, support, and peace-of-mind.
Whether streamlining daily fleet maintenance through Depot Manager or orchestrating ride and delivery requests through Fleet Scheduler, Argo customers can access all of the capabilities they need to efficiently operate autonomous vehicles as part of their business.
To maximize scale, and support businesses where they most need the help, Argo believes in focusing on commercialization in large cities. Argo operations span some of the largest rideshare and goods delivery markets in the U.S., including Miami (in 2021, the second largest rideshare market); Washington, D.C. (a top-5 city), and Austin (a top-20 city).
Argo has positioned itself to best serve the needs of commercial businesses based on:
- Operations in densely-populated cities. The concentration of customer demand is in the urban core. Argo’s operations coverage in Miami, Austin, and Washington, D.C. currently reaches more than two million people and thousands of businesses. As the company expands to encompass the entire metropolitan area, its service coverage will grow to more than 15 million.
- Diversity of testing locations. In addition to Miami, Austin, and D.C., Argo operates in five other big cities in the U.S. and Europe (Pittsburgh, Detroit, Palo Alto, Munich and Hamburg) — enabling the technology to learn from a diversity of road infrastructure and driving behaviors, establishing a robust data set that supports rapid expansion worldwide. For instance, Argo autonomous vehicles operating on Lyft’s rideshare network in Miami Beach navigate complex traffic scenarios with the following frequencies of total trips:
- Pedestrians walking outside of designated walk areas (95%);
- Cyclists (95%);
- Construction (67%).
- Ability to expand rapidly. Operational experience in eight cities has honed the company’s ability to enter new markets quickly and efficiently – in a matter of weeks – then expand.
- Automaker partners for multiple vehicle types. The Argo Autonomy Platform is designed for integration with multiple vehicle form factors, and the company works very closely with its partners Ford and Volkswagen to follow a systems engineering approach for high-quality, reliable and safe operations. The Argo test fleet is currently made up of the Ford Escape Hybrid and VW’s all-electric ID. Buzz.
- Integration with go-to-market partners. Argo technology serves customers every day through collaborations with Lyft and Walmart. These partnerships also include integration with backend cloud infrastructure to connect the Argo fleet with partners’ digital services for seamless interaction and customer engagement.
Working with TÜV SÜD, a world-leading safety organization
In the preparation for operations of driverless test vehicles, Argo measured autonomy performance and safety requirements against industry best practices. Argo then proactively approached TÜV SÜD, a world-leading independent technical service provider and certification body with extensive experience assessing automated vehicle technology, to conduct a third-party review. Upon completion of the vehicle hazard analysis, safety concept, safety analyses and operational requirements, TÜV SÜD visited Argo’s test track facilities in western Pennsylvania for final validation testing.
The assessment is based on the four layered TÜV SÜD Automated Vehicle Framework, an established, federally-recognized process in Germany, which is closely aligned with US DOT’s Guidance on AV Safety.
In addition, last year, Argo also became the first autonomous vehicle technology developer to receive third-party validation by TÜV SÜD for test driver selection, training, and oversight procedures. The assessment confirmed that Argo meets, and in some cases exceeds, industry best practices and standards as outlined by Autonomous Vehicle Safety Consortium’s (AVSC) best practices and SAE International’s J3018 standard for safe on-road testing.