Ford is one of the leading companies when it comes to autonomous driving technology. To go even further in developing self driving cars, the Blue Oval decided to join forces with Lyft, a transportation networking company.
Ford continues to make progress on developing self-driving technology – through its self-driving vehicle and Argo AI’s virtual driver system – simultaneously building the infrastructure and systems necessary to make it easier for people to access.
Lyft has a network of customers, growing demand for rides and strong knowledge of transportation flow within cities. Ford has experience with autonomous vehicle technology development and large scale manufacturing. Both companies have fleet management and big data experience. Combining the capabilities of Ford and Lyft will allow the effectively share information.
Ford and Lyft will work together to explore how to create a technology platform that it can easily connect with a partner’s platform (such as Lyft’s) to effectively dispatch a self-driving vehicle.
They will learn which cities to work with to deliver a self-driving vehicle service based on shared data and information. The kind of infrastructure necessary to service and maintain a fleet of self-driving vehicles to maximise availability to consumers will also be important.
As part of the development of a joint technology platform, Ford will deploy human-driven vehicles on Lyft’s network to test the interface and ensure compatibility with Lyft’s customer-facing platform, the Lyft app. Developer teams from both companies are already working together, programming systems so they can communicate with one another without impacting users of the Lyft app.
Ford will also connect self-driving test vehicles to Lyft’s network; they will not be available for customer use, but allow Ford to develop the technology and ensure a positive, reassuring experience is achieved for future users.