Ford Motor Company has announced a new partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft. The partnership will allow Ford to supply Lyft with self-driving vehicles and is putting their engineering teams together for seamless integration of autonomous vehicles.
In a recent post published on Medium, Ford vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby announced the partnership. Although the post was slim on details of the agreement, Marakby did outline how Ford and Lyft development teams were working together and why.
Lyft and Ford are aiming to seamlessly integrate self-driving vehicles into the company’s existing app. The challenge they face with this goal is in getting the self-driving vehicles to behave like human-driven vehicles. To overcome that, Ford’s autonomous vehicle systems will directly communicate with Lyft’s.
The outcome of the added communication will enable more demand-based deployments of self-driving vehicles. For example, if a Lyft customer needs a ride during a high-demand period and no human-driven vehicles are available, the Lyft system will know to deploy a self-driving ride for that customer.
Both company’s are saying the autonomous solution will be implemented around 2021, a timeline similar to most autonomous vehicle targets. Ford did say that, at least initially, its self-driving vehicles will have a human in the driver’s seat for test purposes and to be compliant with regulations.
This announcement is further proof that new technologies create strange bedfellows in automotive. General Motors invested $500 million into Lyft last year and is also working with the company on self-driving vehicles.