The automaker Ford, in partnership with the developer of autonomous driving software Argo AI, plans to launch a fleet of self-driving Lyft VTCs by the end of the year in Miami and in 2022 in Austin.
For safety reasons, a driver will stay behind the wheel for now.
This initiative therefore remains behind the project led by Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google), in Phoenix, Arizona, where customers can order a driverless car for short trips since the end of 2020.
Other “robot-taxi” programs are currently being tested in the United States.
The deployment of vehicles developed by Ford and Argo AI in Miami and Austin should serve as the basis for larger operations, with the goal of offering at least 1,000 self-driving cars in the Lyft network over the next five years.
“Every company brings the scale, knowledge and capabilities to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality into their area of expertise,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said in the statement.
“Beyond the connection with the customer that Lyft brings, we will be able to work together to define where an autonomous service will benefit the communities the most and to ensure that we deploy the technology in complete safety,” noted for his part the boss of Argo AI, Bryan Salesky. Argo AI counts Ford and Volkswagen among its investors.
Lyft had announced in April its intention to get rid of its own division dedicated to the development of an autonomous driving system by selling it to a subsidiary of Toyota, Woven Planet, for 550 million dollars.
The company had thus followed the example of its competitor Uber, which sold its division specializing in autonomous driving technologies, ATG, to Aurora at the end of 2020.