Autonomous Vehicles

Argo AI launches its third-gen self-driving development car in Detroit

It might not look different, but it's loaded with new hardware.

It wouldn't be a day in Detroit without some weird s&*% driving past.

Argo AI

Ford's Argo AI is ready to bolster its AV development even further with the release of its latest car, which will test in Detroit for the first time.

Argo AI this week unveiled its third-gen self-driving development vehicle in Detroit. Based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the car will now undergo testing in five major cities: Detroit, Miami, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

While the cars look pretty much the same as they did before, what's different lies just behind some of those special fairings. Argo AI's third-gen car is outfitted with new hardware that the company says is closer to being ready for production. There are new radar and camera arrays with higher resolutions and more dynamic range, which means it should be able to pinpoint objects from even farther away. There's also a new computer inside that has more processing power while generating less heat and noise for cabin occupants.

At the same time, the third-gen AV has more safety features to keep things in line during testing. This includes redundant braking and steering systems, which can step in if the primary system stops functioning for whatever reason.

So, why Detroit? According to Argo AI's blog post, it's because of the city's road diversity. Some streets are wide and unmarked, while others are tight with cars parked on both sides. The blog post also points out that many streets in the D have tree branches hanging overhead, a feature the company says is not often seen in other urban locations. It's basically a perfect spot to ensure a self-driving car can handle all manner of roads. Living in Detroit myself, I'm curious as to how it will handle potholes -- the cars can't change their own tires, after all.

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