Ford and VW-backed Argo AI launches fully driverless car service in Miami and Austin

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Argo AI is giving some of its autonomous car backup drivers a break.

The Argo AI Ford Escapes are equipped with an array of sensors to enable self-driving capability. (Argo AI)

The Ford and VW-backed self-driving car technology company has launched fully driverless ride-hailing services in Austin and Miami.

Argo AI has been testing the service with human safety drivers behind the wheel and offers it through Lyft in parts of Miami.

Some of Argo AI’s Ford Escapes are now operating without human safety drivers onboard. (Argo AI)

The driverless version will initially be available only to Argo AI employees as it develops the app.

"We'll integrate driverless into commercial operations at the appropriate time," a spokeswoman told Reuters.

"It’s a huge step for Argo because it demonstrates the scalability of the Argo Autonomy Platform," Argo president Dr. Peter Rander said.

"We can go to multiple cities, where consumer demand for autonomous services is high, and drive naturally and safely in the heart of these areas."

GM's Cruise and Alphabet's Waymo both launched similar services for their employees in the San Francisco area this year, while Waymo also operates a publicly accessible ride-hailing service in metro Phoenix.

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Argo AI is also working with Walmart to test its vehicles for delivery services. (Argo AI)

Argo AI has also partnered with Walmart to use its vehicles in pilot delivery programs in both cities with safety drivers onboard.

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