Ford & Argo AI Take Mayor For Spin in New Self-Driving Test Car


Recently, Ford has teamed up with the revolutionary artificial intelligence company Argo AI in order to continue their leadership role in the ongoing development of self-driving vehicle technology. 


As part of their mission to work directly with cities as this futuristic technology begins to draw closer to launch, the innovative tech company decided to invite Bryan Barnett, current mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan and the new president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, to Detroit for an exclusive ride in the company’s latest self-driving test vehicle.


“Few people know cities like mayors do,” wrote Peter Rander, the president of Argo AI. “They know where their community is thriving or how it may be struggling, so it’s important to help familiarize city leaders with technology that has huge implications for their residents.”


Rander and Barnett rode through the city of Detroit discussing the benefits that the introduction of self-driving technology will have on specific communities and the world as a whole. Barnett cited the increased productivity that might be seen in those commuting to work everyday in a self-driving vehicle. He also concluded that self-driving technology can make an enormous difference in the lives of a city’s aging population, as well as the lives of those with significant disabilities.  


“Self-driving cars give us the opportunity to expand mobility and extend the quality of life for people far past their personal ability to drive safely,” wrote Mayor Barnett. “The same holds true for people with disabilities,” he added. “I have personally seen the excitement that comes to the face of a disabled person who realizes the independence and freedom that will come with this new era and dimension of mobility.”


In addition to praising the benefits that self-driving tech can have on a person’s daily life, the mayor was also quick to point out the impressive awareness and comfortability of Argo’s test vehicle, specifically noting that the car “smoothly navigated traffic” as it drove through downtown Detroit. 


Mayor Barnett also wrote about a specific instance during his trip, in which a truck surprisingly pulled out in front of the test car. According to Barnett, the test car properly slowed to let the truck pass, avoiding an accident. “Scenarios like this serve as a reminder of just how much technology and preparation goes into helping a machine like this operate in a safe manner,” the mayor wrote.


“I don’t think there’s a mayor in the country who is not excited about the way self-driving cars can improve life for the residents we serve...regardless of level of education, income, ability, or zip code,” Barnett concluded. “If companies like Ford and Argo AI continue to work with cities to figure out how to launch this technology, we can manage this transition just as our forefathers managed to move on from horse-drawn carriages.”

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