Argo AI and Ford will deploy Ford self-driving cars, with safety drivers, on the Lyft network. Passenger rides will begin in Miami later this year and in Austin in 2022.
As the vehicles are deployed, Lyft users within defined services areas will be able to select one of the self-driving Ford vehicles to hail a ride.
Ford says this initial deployment phase will lay the groundwork for scaling operations. Parties are currently working to finalize agreements aiming to deploy at least 1,000 autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network across multiple markets over the next five years.
"This collaboration marks the first time all the pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle have come together this way," Logan Green, Lyft co-founder and CEO, said. "Each company brings the scale, knowledge and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality."
As part of the partnership, Argo AI will use anonymized service and fleet data from Lyft to "overcome the challenges faced by other autonomous vehicle companies by focusing on where they can build a sustainable business and validate deployment through localized safety data." Lyft will receive 2.5% of the common equity of Argo AI as part of the licensing and data access agreements.
"These three companies share a belief that autonomous vehicles will be a key enabler for a cleaner, safer and more efficient urban mobility landscape," Scott Griffith, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses said. "This is the beginning of an important relationship between three dynamic companies ultimately aiming to deliver a trusted, high-quality experience for riders in a multi-city large scale operation over time."
Ford, Lyft and Argo AI's announcement is Austin's second autonomous vehicle headline this summer.
In June, a Michigan-based AI company announced it was bringing 10 food delivery machines to South Congress, Travis Heights and some parts of downtown. KVUE got a look at how the food delivery robots work, how they could impact Austin traffic and who isn't a fan of the concept.
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