Ford is the latest car company to join Lyft’s lofty goal of adding self-driving cars to its ride-hailing network.
Joining the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors, and Waymo, Ford is now part of Lyft’s Open Platform Initiative, which aims to create a fleet of driverless cars to go alongside its regular human drivers.
Ford is no stranger to autonomous driving tech, and is currently doing a lot of its own work and testing of driverless cars and the tech that runs them, such as its Argo AI virtual driver system.
But by joining the Open Platform Initiative, the car maker will work with Lyft and others to create a framework by which data can be shared between Lyft and cars from different companies to aid the development of their autonomous systems, which are trained to drive safely through collecting and processing vast amounts of road, location and environment information.
With this data sharing and collaboration, Ford’s vice president of its autonomous vehicles and electrification division, Sherif Marakby, said the partnership aims to make hailing an autonomous ride a fast and safe process.
“Think of it this way: Someday, when you open the Lyft app during a period of high demand, Ford and Lyft software will need to be capable of quickly dispatching a self-driving vehicle so that you can get to your destination as quickly and as safely as possible,” explained Maraby. “With our combined capabilities, we believe we can effectively share information to help make the best decisions for the future.”
Neither company alluded to the affect the introduction of driverless cars could have on the jobs and future of human Lyft drivers.
And given how Uber has lost its license to operate in London, potentially costing thousands of people a means to earn a living, taking the human element of driving could have serious ramifications beyond simply making life more efficient for Lyft users. But then the cost of accelerating such technology development has always had negative as well as positive affects.
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