Ford’s on-demand ride-sharing service Chariot will be expanding into 8 new cities this year, going by comments made by company execs at the recent North American International Auto Show.
Notably, one of those 8 new cities will actually be outside the US. As it stands, Chariot operates in San Francisco (California), in Austin (Texas), and at Lake Tahoe.
The news follows on Ford’s acquisition of Ford Smart Mobility’s Chariot on-demand service last September — and is probably a sign of the company’s plans for rapid expansion over the coming years.
Tech Crunch provides more:
“Chariot offers on-demand ridesharing via Ford Transit shuttles, looking to supplement public transit bus routes and local trains with commuter routes that aren’t well served by either of those existing solutions. Ford Smart Mobility, the company Ford founded to focus on mobility alternatives to vehicle ownership, acquired Chariot in September.
“Chariot’s approach to new markets might look different compared to what it’s doing in San Francisco and Austin; [Chariot CEO Ali Vhabzadeh] explained to me previously that the company is keen to look at market needs when planning new service in a different area. Its Lake Tahoe project shows one small example of what that kind of flexibility might look like.”
As a reminder here, Ford has previously revealed that it expects to be running a large-scale autonomous ride-sharing service by 2021 or so, a program that will be serving millions of people if the company gets its stated wishes. The lessons to be gleaned from expanded Chariot service will no doubt help the company to possibly achieve that goal.