Ford, in partnership with Argo AI, will be testing its self-driving vehicles in Washington, D.C., beginning in 2019 as the company works toward the deployment of a commercial fleet in 2021.
"Both Ford and district officials are committed to exploring how self-driving vehicles can be deployed in an equitable way across the various neighborhoods that make up Washington, D.C., and in a way that promotes job creation," the company wrote in a blog post.
In partnership with the D.C. Infrastructure Academy, Ford will be training locals as vehicle operators, who will be responsible for monitoring and operating test vehicles. The company is also looking to train automotive technicians on how to maintenance and repair the vehicles.
Ford's partner in developing autonomous technology, Argo AI, already has vehicles in operation to map the D.C. streets. In 2017, Ford invested $1 billion in Argo AI to help further its autonomous program. The companies have already been testing autonomous vehicles in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Miami.
Ford's D.C. operations will be centered in Ward 5, where vehicles will be housed, maintenanced, cleaned, and serviced.