Ford will be collaborating with the on-demand ride-hailing service Lyft for the large-scale deployment of self-driving Ford vehicles by the year 2021, according to a statement from the company.
Ford and Lyft are already beginning to work together on the design of software that will allow Ford’s self-driving cars to communicate with Lyft’s smartphone apps, going by the new statement.
The plan, according to Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby, is for Ford’s self-driving test vehicles to be connected to Lyft’s network in the relatively near term, but for actual customer use to follow only at some point well after that.
“We’re not building prototypes for the sake of building prototypes,” Marakby stated, while explaining that the plan was for mass deployment.
Reuters provides more: “Ford also is testing delivery services using self-driving vehicles and a van shuttle service. The self-driving vehicles Ford will deploy through Lyft will use software developed by Argo AI, a company in which Ford is investing $1 billion over the next five years.
“The company has said it will invest $700 million in a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, to make it capable of building electric and self-driving vehicles. Lyft has said it will offer an open platform for companies to deploy self-driving vehicles on its network, and has partnerships with self-driving vehicle technology startup Drive.ai and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving car unit.”
As some reading this will recall, GM has a similar relationship with the one just announced by Ford with Lyft — though, with GM actually possessing a 9% stake in Lyft as well. At the time of the acquisition GM was actually attempting to purchase the company as a whole, but Lyft execs were opposed to the idea — for reasons that should now be apparent.
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