Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC is taking the next step forward to launch its self-driving service in Miami-Dade County by establishing a command center, which will serve as the epicenter of Ford’s self-driving business and daily operations.
The command center operations will include customer relations, public engagement, business development, research, safety evaluations and testing.
“Miami-Dade has been our home for over two years, and expanding our footprint with this new facility reinforces our commitment to helping this vibrant community continue to grow and meet the demands of the decade ahead,” said Alex Buznego, Miami market manager at Ford Motor Company.
“Whether it’s hailing a ride or receiving a delivery, the autonomous services we will operate out of this facility will build on existing mobility services with a new value proposition that is human-centered, industry-leading, and that frees our community to achieve its fullest potential,” he said. “We believe Ford is well positioned to bring together the many elements needed, while earning trust and collaborating with our fellow Miamians on the journey ahead.”
The command center, which is located west of Miami International Airport, is a mixed-use space and includes offices and a warehouse to house Ford’s fleet of autonomous vehicles. Ford expects the facility to be fully operational in 2021.
In February 2018, Miami-Dade County became the first city Ford partnered with to establish its self-driving business and launch a commercial service to move both people and goods. As part of this, Ford established a research terminal in the Wynwood neighborhood that today serves as the base from which Ford and its partner, Argo AI, operate its fleet of self-driving vehicles for testing on public roads.
“Our command center is an important next step as Ford continues to build a successful and scalable self-driving service in Miami-Dade County,” said Don Conroy, director, AV Operations at Ford Motor Company. “The command center, combined with our existing terminal in Wynwood, allows us to manage our fleet operations and help ensure our vehicles are being fully optimized to provide the best service possible.”
The company will continue to grow its local Miami team to support its self-driving business operations and will look to hire for a variety of roles, including business operations staff, technical personnel and fleet service staff.
“We’re thrilled that Ford has seen the potential in our county and is establishing a command center in Miami-Dade,” said Alice N. Bravo, PE, director of Transportation and Public Works for Miami-Dade County. “Ford’s vision for the future of mobility is not only revolutionary for drivers but public transportation users as well. We look forward to continuing to build together and create a car-optional community and the option for on-demand self-driving vehicles.”
With a mission to increase jobs in Miami-Dade County, Ford also will work with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council to prepare the Miami workforce for future jobs at the command center.
“As the official economic development partner of Miami-Dade County, the Beacon Council is pleased to support the growth of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC in Miami. This announcement highlights the innovations that are being developed and tested in our region and that are driving the future of Miami,” said Michael A. Finney, president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. “We look forward to deepening our partnership with Ford to support the expansion of our local talent pipeline and future growth opportunities in Miami-Dade County.”
Over the past two-and-a-half years, Ford and Argo AI have continued to expand the areas of testing and mapping to further develop the self-driving system and create a driving experience that is safe and feels natural on Miami streets. Ford also has strengthened its operational understanding of how to launch a self-driving commercial service. The company has conducted user experience testing with a series of pilot programs and market research to help ensure Ford is providing an experience that fits the unique needs of the Miami community. Ford plans to begin the commercialization of these services in Miami-Dade County in 2022.
To learn more about Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC and the work the team is doing, visit https://medium.com/self-driven.