Ford and Lyft announce self-driving vehicle partnership

Carmaker Ford and ridesharing company Lyft have announced a new partnership aimed at ‘bringing self-driving vehicles to the masses’.

In a blog post announcing the partnership, Sherif Marakby, Ford Vice President, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, said that while Ford is making progress on developing self-driving technology, the companies are also building systems and infrastructure to allow customers to hail a self-driving vehicle on demand.

The two companies will explore a number of areas together, including: how to create connected technology platforms to dispatch self-driving vehicles; which cities they should work with to deliver a self-driving vehicle service; and the kind of infrastructure necessary to service and maintain a fleet of self-driving vehicles.

Ford will initially deploy human-driven vehicles on Lyft’s network as the partners develop their technology platform. The carmaker will also connect its self-driving test vehicles to the network, but doesn’t plan to put customers in them until further testing is complete.

Ford believes that while there is no doubt self-driving vehicles will have an impact on how people and goods move in future, the magnitude of that impact will depend on businesses, government and the public working together.

“Some view the opportunity with self-driving vehicles as a race to be first,” said Marakby. “But we are focusing our efforts on building a service based around actual people’s needs and wants.”