Neither Ford or Lyft are strangers to the self-driving vehicles game, with everything from public alpha testing to driverless pizza delivery already on their repertoires. Now, they’re partnering up with the aim of “bringing self-driving vehicles to the masses.”
Sherif Marakby, Ford Vice President, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, outlined the partnership in a blog post, and highlighted Lyft’s existing network and its data-based understanding of intra-city transportation patterns as key assets going forward. As the partnership progresses, Lyft will begin Ford’s self-driving-capable Fusion in conjunction with Argo.ai’s virtual driver system.
As its name suggests, Argo.ai develops artificial intelligence designed to power the next generation of self-driving cars. The tech startup is backed by over $1 billion of Ford investment funding.
According to Marakby, while the long-term goal remains widespread use of the technology, the short term aim isn’t to be first to the market, but rather to develop a platform that fosters familiarity and confidence among the public. He points to three key areas in which the partnership will focus its efforts: ironing out the logistics of marrying self-driving technology with a dispatch service like Lyft, determining the markets in which to test driverless services, and determining the unexpected infrastructure challenges that come with maintaining a driverless fleet.
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