Artificial Intelligence: Ford, Argo AI, Lyft To Commercialize Autonomous Ride-Hailing
The collaboration brings together “all of the parts necessary to create a viable autonomous ride-hailing service.”
Ford (NYSE: F) said Wednesday (July 21, 2021) that as part of a unique three-company collaboration, Argo AI and Ford will deploy Ford self-driving cars with safety drivers on the Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) network as part of a network access agreement aimed at commercializing autonomous ride-hailing at scale. (Ford)
The three companies represent the key components of self-driving technology, vehicle fleet, and transportation network needed to actualize the mission of a viable self-driven service for riders.
The companies plan initial deployments of their passenger service in Miami later this year, followed by Austin, Texas, in 2022. This preparatory phase will be the precursor to further agreements between the companies to have at least 1,000 autonomously driven cars on the Lyft network over the next five years.
“Each company brings the scale, knowledge, and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality,” Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green said.
Collaboration on market and safety data
Lyft has agreed to provide anonymized service and fleet data to Argo AI to highlight the “challenges faced by other autonomous vehicle companies” and to thereby pinpoint markets that could be sustainably viable for the companies and safe for riders.
Accordingly, as consideration for its collaboration on the safe commercialization of autonomous vehicles, Lyft will receive 2.5% of the common equity of Argo AI.
Argo AI is backed by Ford and Volkswagen AG (ETR: VOW3). In April, Lyft sold its own self-driving technology unit to Toyota Motor Corp (TYO: 7203) for $550 million in a move to concentrate more on services such as routing, consumer interface, and fleet management.
“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.
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