The permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, is for one vehicle and two drivers.
Unlike other self-driving car companies, California isn’t the first, or even third, market where Argo AI is testing its tech.
The company, founded by former Google self-driving project veteran Bryan Salesky and Uber Advanced Technologies Group’s former engineering lead Peter Rander, has been busy in its short life, including acquiring LiDAR company Princeton Lightwave.
Argo AI does much of its testing in Pittsburgh, where it’s based. The company is also testing its autonomous vehicle technology in Miami, Detroit and soon Washington, D.C. as part of its relationship with Ford. Argo AI has had vehicles on DC’s streets for months now, mapping roads in the first step toward testing in autonomous mode. Ford said last year that the self-driving vehicles would begin testing on public roads in the first quarter of 2019.
Argo AI is an independent company, although Ford is a major backer and has seats on its board. Ford is also Argo AI’s only customer — at least for the moment. Argo AI is developing the virtual driver system and high-definition maps designed for Ford’s self-driving vehicles. Ford has said it plans to launch a self-driving taxi and delivery service in 2021.
It’s not clear if Argo AI’s plans to test in California are part of its relationship with Ford, are related to a new customer or are part of its testing program. TechCrunch will update the story when it learns more.