Argo AI, Lyft and Ford Motor Company are collaborating to launch self-driving cars at scale, according to a Wednesday (July 21) announcement. The joint effort brings together self-driving technology, vehicle fleet and transportation network.
Argo AI and Ford will release Ford self-driving cars with safety drivers, through Lyft. Passenger rides are expected to begin in Miami this year and in Austin starting in 2022. As self-driving vehicle service areas are expanded, Lyft users will be able to choose a Ford self-driving vehicle for a ride. The companies are finalizing agreements to launch at least 1,000 self-driving vehicles on the Lyft network, across multiple markets, over the next five years.
“This collaboration is special because we’re executing on a shared vision for improving the safety, access to and affordability of transportation in our cities,” said Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI. “Beyond the link that Lyft provides to the customer, we’ll be able to work together to define where an autonomous service will benefit communities the most and ensure we’re deploying the technology safely.”
Earlier this year, Lyft announced it was in the process of selling its self-driving division to Woven Planet, a subsidiary of Toyota, for $550 million. That deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
Through the collaboration with Argo AI and Ford, Lyft will receive 2.5 percent of the common equity of Argo AI as part of the licensing and data access agreements. Argo AI will use anonymous service and fleet data supplied by Lyft to determine the best areas to launch self-driving vehicles.
To support the scaling of self-driving vehicles, Ford has stepped up operations in Miami, Austin and Washington, D.C. This includes operations to support commercial fleets, including fueling, servicing and cleaning.
As reported earlier this year, Ford has already taken on innovations with the introduction of wireless software technology that installs automatic updates to keep vehicles up-to-date on the latest upgrades.