Ford is disbanding the autonomous vehicle company it tested in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A company testing its self-driving cars in Austin will be disbanded, according to Ford. Ford co-owns Argo AI with Volkswagen.

Executives have said they see no path to profitability in fully autonomous vehicles and will now focus on partially automated driver assistance systems that must be supervised by humans.

“We’ve looked at this in every possible way,” Chief Financial Officer John Lawler told reporters on Wednesday. “We just see the profitability, given the investment that’s going to be required, to be a long way off.”

According to Lawler, it will take billions of dollars for Ford to put self-driving robots on the streets.

In May of this year, Argo AI partnered with Walmart and Lyft to make their delivery and ride-sharing services autonomous. At the time, the company had 20 autonomous vehicles operating in Austin, with plans to expand its fleet in the coming years.

Autonomous vehicles at the time still included a safe driver in the passenger seat.

At the end of September, autonomous Ford Escape Hybrids hit the streets of Austin for a further partnership with Lyft. Customers could choose an autonomous vehicle using an option in the Lyft app.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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