(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, announced a new partnership between Ford and the DC Infrastructure Academy to train DC residents for jobs and careers in the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. In February, the Bowser Administration announced efforts to explore an AV program by establishing the Interagency AV Working Group, proactively preparing the District for AV technologies and working to ensure that advances benefit District residents and visitors. In announcing that they had chosen Washington, DC as their second city to set up a self-driving business, Ford highlighted the District’s commitment to safety and equity.
“As Washington, DC continues to grow, we remain committed to exploring innovative approaches to mobility, connecting residents to job opportunities in our thriving technology scene, and building a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through this partnership with Ford, we can ensure that as self-driving technology advances, we’re introducing it in a way that works for our community and our residents.”
Through the partnership with the DC Infrastructure Academy, Ford and Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company, will train District residents for jobs in testing and operating autonomous vehicles. Vehicle operators will learn about the underlying technology and provide detailed feedback to engineering teams on vehicle performance. Additionally, Ford will work with area dealerships, the DC Infrastructure Academy, and Excel Automotive to prepare DC residents for in-demand auto technician jobs.
“As the capital of the free world, DC is a showcase for the city and nation’s leadership in self-driving technology and how we can use these technologies to better serve people,” said Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC. “This year, and into 2019, we will build the backbone of a self-driving vehicle business in this city working with Mayor Bowser and also the Infrastructure Academy to grow the local talent to support a new self-driving industry.”
Going forward, Ford will work closely with the District to design a commercial service that continues to improve transportation equity in Washington, DC. With Argo AI, Ford will conduct business pilot programs to understand how self-driving vehicles can enable an improved customer experience, which includes increasing the affordability of ride hailing services and expanding delivery options available to local and small businesses. Ford and Argo AI will have a terminal in Ward 5 where their vehicle operations will be managed and will develop AV technology across all eight wards.
Established by the Bowser Administration, the Interagency AV Working Group, comprised of DC Government agencies focused on transportation, disability rights, environmental issues, and public safety, has been developing guiding principles for the District to maximize benefits and proactively address challenges. The core principles are:
- Safety – reduce driver, passenger, and pedestrian injuries and fatalities and protect consumer data
- Equity – improve access across geographies and populations, improve accessibility
- Efficiency – reduce the inefficiencies and negative externalities of congestion, reduce costs, reduce pollution, and improve movement
- Sustainability – improve environmental impacts, increase financially sustainability, and adapt to changes
Operated by the Department of Employment Services, the DC Infrastructure Academy offers high-quality, specialized training and programs in green technology, automotive skills, construction and more. To learn more about the academy, visit: does.dc.gov/service/dc-infrastructure-academy.