Ford and Lyft are partnering in the development of autonomous vehicles. The goal is for Lyft users to be able to summon a Ford self-driving car. One day.
For now the two companies say they are working together to make sure their respective platforms talk to each other.
“Think of it this way: Someday, when you open the Lyft app during a period of high demand, Ford and Lyft software will need to be capable of quickly dispatching a self-driving vehicle so that you can get to your destination as quickly and as safely as possible,” Sherif Marakby, Ford Vice President, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification wrote in a blog post.
Ford will eventually connect its self-driving test vehicles to Lyft’s network, Marakby said, but customers won’t be able to hail them at first.
“When ready, we’ll have self-driving cars operating alongside Lyft’s current community of drivers to help accommodate times of significant consumer demand to ensure that transportation remains timely and affordable.”
But Ford likely won’t be the only self-driving car maker on Lyft’s ride sharing Open Platform. As Recode notes, Lyft already has a number of partnerships in this field: including GM, Jaguar, Waymo and Singapore’s NuTonomy.
“We strongly believe that leaders across industries should work collaboratively to introduce self-driving technology in a way that positively impacts our cities. Our two companies share a core belief that the future of transportation will meaningfully reshape how cities are designed, and improve the lives of people who live there,” Lyft said in a statement.
Ford is aiming to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021, but have stated it will be a deployed as part of a commercial venture, such as shuttle, ride-hailing or car sharing service, rather than consumers buying their own driverless car outright.
The partnership with Lyft will give Ford access to a customer network, market demand and knowledge of transportation flow within cities.