Car Industry

Ford gets a Lyft in self-driving-car, ride-hailing development

Ford will use Lyft's open platform to create a service based around on-demand autonomous rides.

Lyft

GM and Lyft might already have a partnership in place, but that doesn't mean Lyft can't work with its competitors.

Lyft and Ford have announced that the two will team up on the development and deployment of self-driving cars. The agreement will see Ford putting self-driving vehicles on Lyft's open platform, which will not only allow Ford to integrate into Lyft's ride-hailing system, but it will also allow Ford to access a number of real-life driving scenarios from which Ford's self-driving cars can learn how to act and react.

"We strongly believe that leaders across industries should work collaboratively to introduce self-driving technology in a way that positively impacts our cities," Lyft said in a blog post. "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."

No humans around to pick you up during a period of high demand? Not a problem.

Ford

The idea is that, one day in the future, you can order a car through the Lyft app and have a self-driving Ford arrive at your doorstep to shuffle you off to wherever.

There's plenty of work to do before that happens, though. Ford and Lyft will work together to figure out where these kinds of services are needed and determine what kind of infrastructure is necessary for such a deployment. Before any self-driving vehicles enter Lyft's ranks, Ford will first deploy human-driven vehicles to test interfaces and platform integration.

While there is no specific timeline for the deployment of its self-driving cars on Lyft's network, Reuters reports that Ford wants deployment "in large numbers" by 2021.

"We expect that our partnership with Lyft will accelerate our efforts to build a profitable and viable self-driving vehicle business," Ford said in a blog post. "With Lyft's network and respected brand experience, we expect our ability to scale self-driving vehicles will play a critical role in safely bringing this technology  --  and its many benefits  --  to mainstream consumers."

Ford is also working to gauge consumer reaction to self-driving vehicles through a partnership that will see "self-driving" Fusion sedans delivering pizzas to customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lyft has a number of other partners, too, including General Motors, Drive.ai and Waymo.