Argo.AI acquires permit to test autonomous vehicles in California

Argo.AI, the self-driving car startup that burst onto the scene in 2017 with $1 billion in backing from Ford, has obtained a permit to test its autonomous vehicles in California.

Unlike other self-driving car companies, California isn’t the first, or even third, market where Argo.AI is testing its tech.

The company, which founded by former Google self-driving project veteran Bryan Salesky and Uber Advanced Technologies Group’s former engineering lead Peter Rander, has been busy in its short life, including acquiring LiDAR company Princeton Lightwave.

Argo.AI does much of its testing in Pittsburgh, where it’s based. The company is also testing its autonomous vehicle technology in Miami, Detroit, and soon Washington D.C. as part of its relationship with Ford. Argo AI has had vehicles on DC’s streets for months now, mapping roads in the first step toward testing in autonomous mode. Ford said last year that the self-driving vehicles would begin testing on public roads in the first quarter of 2019.

Argo.AI is an independent company, although Ford is a major backer and has seats on its board. Ford is also Argo.AI’s only customer — at least for the moment. Argo.AI is developing the virtual driver system and high-definition maps designed for Ford’s self-driving vehicles. Ford has said it plans to launch a self-driving taxi and delivery service in 2021.

It’s not clear, if Argo.AI’s plans to test in California are part of its relationship with Ford, related to a new customer, or part of its testing program. TechCrunch will update the story when it learns more.

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