Argo AI, Ford to launch self-driving vehicles on Lyft Network by end-2021
Argo AI, Lyft and Ford Motor Company announced that are working together to commercialize autonomous ride hailing at scale.
The partners said that this collaboration brings together all of the parts necessary to create a viable autonomous ride hailing service, including the self-driving technology, the vehicle fleet and transportation network needed to support a scalable business.
“This collaboration marks the first time all the pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle have come together this way,“ Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green said. “Each company brings the scale, knowledge and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality.”
Under this collaboration, Argo AI and Ford will deploy Ford self-driving cars, with safety drivers, on the Lyft network, as part of a network access agreement, with passenger rides beginning in Miami later this year and in Austin starting in 2022.
As vehicles are deployed, Lyft users within the defined service areas will be able to select a Ford self-driving vehicle to hail a ride. This initial deployment phase will lay the groundwork for scaling operations, as the parties are now working to finalize agreements aiming to deploy at least 1,000 autonomous vehicles on the Lyft network, across multiple markets over the next five years.
“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 Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI. “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.”
As part of the collaboration agreement, Argo will use anonymized service and fleet data from Lyft to overcome the challenges faced by other autonomous vehicle companies by focusing on where they can build a sustainable business and validate deployment through localized safety data. In addition, Lyft will receive 2.5% of the common equity of Argo AI as part of the licensing and data access agreements to collaborate on the safe commercialization of autonomous vehicles.
“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 Scott Griffith, CEO, Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses. “These three companies share a belief that autonomous vehicles will be a key enabler for a cleaner, safer and more efficient urban mobility landscape. This is the beginning of an important relationship between three dynamic companies ultimately aiming to deliver a trusted, high-quality experience for riders in a multi-city large scale operation over time.”
In order to support self-driving vehicle deployments at scale, Ford said it has established a robust presence in Miami, Austin and Washington, D.C, including operations to support commercial fleets, including fueling, servicing and cleaning.