Ford and Argo AI to launch self-driving cars with Lyft by the end of the year
Ford has announced its plans to launch an autonomous vehicle fleet with Lyft and Argo AI will occur by the end of the year. The group will begin testing self-driving vehicles with safety drivers this year in Miami, one of many steps in its process to launching the fleet. The companies plan to expand to Austin, Texas, in 2022 and produce 1,000 self-driving cars in multiple markets within the next five years, according to the announcement. The statement comes as two popular ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft decided to abandon their own in-house systems and seek partners for producing the self-driving technology. Lyft announced plans in April to sell its autonomous vehicle unit to a subsidiary of Toyota whereas Uber sold its own unit to Aurora, backed by Hyundai and Amazon. Uber’s move came amid safety concerns and extreme costs, according to reports.
The trio stated that each company offers a unique set of knowledge and capability throughout specific areas of expertise, something that the companies noted was essential to making autonomous ride-hailing services a reality. Lyft will receive 2.5% common equity of Argo, AI as part of the agreement. Argo AI, Ford, and Volkswagen’s autonomous vehicle start-up, reportedly going public as soon as this year.