Lyft will work with Ford and a self-driving car start-up


Ford Motor and its autonomous driving subsidiary Argo AI have formed an alliance with Lyft to start offering rides in self-driving cars.

Ford plans to start using self-driving cars In Miami this year through Lyft’s ride-hailing service. The vehicles will be equipped with Argo’s self-driving technology, but still have someone at the steering wheel for safety.

“Continuing to have security operators behind the wheel is a big step forward as we move from testing to a commercial service,” Argo CEO Bryan Salesky said in a blog post about the partnership. “But moving from there to offering self-driving vehicles is an even bigger step. It requires validating that the technology has reached a level of self-driving performance that is considered safer than what we see on the streets today.”

The three companies hope to have self-driving cars in Austin, Texas, next year. They aim to have several dozen cars running in Miami and Austin, and hope to have about 1,000 vehicles on the roads in multiple cities within five years.

As part of the partnership, Lyft will receive a 2.5 percent stake in Argo. In return, Lyft has agreed to share the data it collects about its ridesharing operations with Ford and Argo. Ford and Volkswagen own about 40 percent of Argo.

Waymo, the autonomous driving company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has been testing a limited self-driving service in Phoenix for several years. Argo is testing about 150 autonomous vehicles in six American cities as well as Germany.

Just a few years ago, automakers and tech companies expected rapid progress in bringing self-driving cars to market. However, they found that perfecting the necessary hardware and software was more difficult than initially thought.

Two years ago, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, There are a million self-driving taxis on the road until 2020. But he is still developing the Full Self-Driving software and has said in filings with California regulators that the system cannot drive a self-driving car and will never achieve that capability.


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