General Motors’ crosstown rival, Ford Motor Company, is partnering with Argo AI and Lyft in a bid to roll out a new commercialized autonomous ride hailing service at scale. General Motors is still a small shareholder of Lyft, previously investing $500 million into the ride-hailing service in 2018.
The partnership between Ford, Argo AI, and Lyft includes a yet-to-be-finalized agreement to deploy 1,000 new self-driving Ford vehicles on the Lyft network across multiple markets over the next five years. To lay the foundation for this large-scale rollout, self-driving Ford vehicles will be made available in select Lyft service areas, including Miami later this year, and Austin in 2022. The initial autonomous vehicle rollout will include safety drivers, and Lyft users will have the option to select a self-driving vehicle when hailing a ride. The initial rollout will provide market and safety data for the large-scale rollout to follow.
“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 founder and CEO of Argo AI, Bryan Salesky. “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.”
To help support at-scale rollout of the self-driving ride hailing service, Ford has established “a robust presence” in target cities, including Austin, Miami, and Washington, D.C., with fueling, servicing, and cleaning to help support commercial fleets.
“Argo and Ford are currently piloting, mapping and preparing for commercial operations of autonomous vehicles in more cities than any other AV collaboration, and this new agreement is a crucial step toward full commercial operations – the addition of Lyft’s world-class transportation network,” said the CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Businesses, Scott Griffith. “These three companies share a belief that autonomous vehicles will be a key enabler for a cleaner, safer and more efficient urban mobility landscape.”
Meanwhile, General Motors is still a small shareholder of Lyft, with the automaker’s initial $500 million investment estimated to be worth over $1 billion. GM has also developed its own self-driving ride hailing vehicle dubbed Cruise Origin, which debuted early last year. The first batch of pre-production Cruise Origin AVs began production last month.