Ford's AI-Powered Self Driving Cars to Be Tested in Miami

Autonomous vehicle testing will take place in Miami, Ford announced. Ford Motor Co

Ford's self-driving cars will soon be tested out on the streets of Miami in a partnership with other companies including Dominos Pizza, the firm announced Tuesday.

Rolling out across Miami-Dade County, Florida, the scheme will launch alongside a new terminal staffed to monitor and conduct maintenance on the vehicles, Ford said. It will make money using a revenue-sharing model with partners.

The race toward AI-powered vehicles which can operate without the need for human interaction has been hotting up in recent years, with roughly 50 companies including Tesla, Google Waymo, Apple, General Motors (GM) and Volkswagen pouring investment into development of the technology in the U.S.

Ford said in a Medium post Tuesday that it is attempting to test how customers interact with the vehicles and what benefits self-driving cars will offer delivery users. The outcomes will be applied to Ford's own vehicles in the future, which it says it will launch in 2021.

According to Reuters, the partnership will include ride-hailing app Lyft, a close rival to Uber, which is also developing a suite of autonomous services.

"We will make money through utilizing the vehicle and the revenue that the vehicle generates," said Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification.

Ford said that it will ramp up its business relationship with artificial intelligence company Argo AI to help map Miami roads and improve how vehicles get through the city. The company will partner with U.S courier company Postmates in March this year and continue its ongoing scheme with pizza company Dominos, building on a pilot program in Michigan launched in August 2017.

"We want to be on the forefront of this because we want to give our people choices," Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade County, told the Detroit Free Press. Early last year, Ford announced a $1 billion investment in Argo AI.

"The development of self-driving vehicles hints at a whole new way of moving people and goods, but it doesn't change our way of doing business," Ford's Marakby wrote. "We're looking forward to connecting with the people of Miami-Dade County a service they can confidently rely on day in and day out."

On Monday, California's Department of Motor Vehicles ruled that from April 2, companies will be permitted to test driverless vehicles without a safety driver inside the car. They must, however, still have a remote operator in place and a hotline to law enforcement, Recode reported.

In January, General Motors hit the headlines after it claimed it would create a self-driving car without a steering wheel or pedals before 2020.

The same month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said in a press release that it was set to supply "thousands" of its vehicles to Google Waymo to "support the launch of the world's first driverless ride-hailing service."