AUSTIN (KXAN) — A company that was testing its self-driving cars in Austin is going to be disbanded, according to Ford. Ford co-owns Argo AI alongside Volkswagen.
Executives said they don’t see a path to profitability on fully autonomous vehicles and will now focus on partially automated driver-assist systems, which need to be monitored by humans.
“We’ve looked at this every way that you can,” Chief Financial Officer John Lawler told reporters Wednesday. “We just see the profitability, given the investment that’s going to be required, a long way out.”
According to Lawler, it would take billions of dollars for Ford to put self-driving robotaxis on the streets.
In May of this year, Argo AI partnered with Walmart and Lyft to make their delivery and rideshare services autonomous. Back then, the company had 20 autonomous vehicles operating in Austin, with plans to expand its fleet in the coming years.
The autonomous vehicles at the time still included a safety driver in the passenger seat.
In late September, autonomous Ford Escape Hybrids hit the Austin streets for further partnership with Lyft. Customers were able to choose an autonomous vehicle using an option on the Lyft app.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.