Self-driving Ford vehicles will soon be hitting the streets of Miami, Florida and Austin, Texas through the ride-hailing platform Lyft.
The self-driving rides with safety drivers will be launched in Miami before the year ends, while Ford and Lyft plan to expand the service to Austin, Texas, either late 2021 or early 2022.
Both companies announced that they would roll out 1,000 self-driving vehicles in numerous markets until 2025.
Self-Driving Ford Cars to Launch in Miami
Ford had promised that it would launch a full-scale autonomous vehicle business, including driverless delivery and robotaxis by 2021, and that plan has been in the works for years.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the plan to launch driverless delivery was moved to 2022. The company also stated that it would use a purpose-built autonomous vehicle without pedals or steering wheel powering it, but they are yet to reveal that technology.
The deal with Lyft serves as a sign that Ford is working on its promises. It will also be the first time the vehicle company has invited the public to use their autonomous cars.
The service will let Lyft customers choose between a regular vehicle or an autonomous one. The autonomous vehicles will include two safety drivers seated in the driver and the front passenger seats, according to The Verge.
Ride-Hailing Companies Ditching In-House Systems
The partnership between companies came after Uber and Lyft decided to discontinue their in-house systems and look for outside partners for self-driving technology, according to CNBC.
In April, Lyft sold it self-driving cars to a subsidiary of Toyota for $550 million after its initial plans failed to materialize.
Despite selling its business to Toyota, Lyft is still interested in the AV industry. The company signed a deal with Aptiv to launch self-driving vehicles in Las Vegas, Nevada, while it partnered up with Waymo to launch the service in Phoenix, Arizona.
Logan Green, the co-found and CEO of Lyft, said that each car company they sign a deal with brings knowledge, capability, and scale in their area of expertise needed to make the autonomous ride-hailing business a success.
As part of the partnership, Lyft will get 2.5% common equity of Argo AI in exchange for Lyft's data on the self-driving trips. Ford, Lyft, and Argo AI stated that they would use the data to figure out how to grow the AV businesses.
The race to launch self-driving vehicles is not just heating up in the United States. It is becoming a contest among car companies worldwide.
Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, said during the company's earnings call that GM wants to offer their consumers AVs within this decade, and they plan to branch out to North America and Europe.
Volkswagen is also planning a self-driving bus by 2025, while Ford announced in February that it plans to invest $29 billion in autonomous and electric vehicles until 2025.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Sophie Webster