Ford Partners With Lyft On Self-Driving Service
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has entered a partnership with Lyft to eventually use self-driving cars as a paid transportation service. Ford announced the partnership in a blog post. Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification, said in the post that the service would be “capable of quickly dispatching a self-driving vehicle so that you can get to your destination as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Ford wants to create self-driving cars that can easily connect with a platform like Lyft’s. The companies will jointly determine which cities are best for the self-driving service rollout. The companies will also cooperate on the infrastructure needed to make the service work. Marakby said Ford planned to eventually deploy “thousands” of self-driving cars.
The initial aim of the partnership is to combine the strengths of each company. Lyft has a vast network of customers across the United States and a strong knowledge of transportation flow within cities. Ford has the large-scale manufacturing and the development of autonomous vehicles technology. Both companies have fleet management and Big Data experience.
The agreement will allow Ford’s vehicles to communicate with the ride-sharing company’s app. The companies say that their developer teams are already working on programming the systems so they can communicate with one another. Lyft’s ride-sharing network logs nearly 1 million rides per day.
It may be quite some time before you see self-driving Ford vehicles transporting Lyft customers. The companies do not plan on putting customers in the vehicles until they are certain the technology can deliver “a positive, reassuring experience.” The statement says that the companies “are placing a high priority on safety and dependability.”
Ford believes that the partnership with Lyft will play a critical role in bringing self-driving cars to mainstream consumers. Marakby said that the partnership will help both companies progress toward “a more affordable, dependable, and accessible transportation future.” This is not the only self-driving car initiative being pursued by Ford. Last month, Ford reached an agreement with Domino’s Pizza to test pizza delivery using its self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Lyft is also working with other companies on self-driving vehicles. Earlier this year, Lyft launched an open platform to provide tech companies and automakers access to its network. Lyft also entered into a partnership with GM in January 2016 that has similar goals to the Ford agreement. Lyft made at least three other partnerships in 2017, with Drive.ai, nuTonomy, and Waymo, the Google self-driving car project.