Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby, announced the joint venture in a blog post, noting that there is no denying that self-driving cars will one day have a transformative impact on infrastructure and transportation. The company is hoping to lead that transformation by partnering with ride-sharer Lyft:
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.
And that’s where our work with Lyft begins.
Lyft has a network of customers, growing demand for rides and strong knowledge of transportation flow within cities. We have experience with autonomous vehicle technology development and large-scale manufacturing. Both companies have fleet management and big data experience. With our combined capabilities, we believe we can effectively share information to help make the best decisions for the future.
For now, Ford will deploy human-driven vehicles on Lyft’s network, but as their tech advances, they’ll eventually replace those cars with their self-driving test vehicles. When that day will come remains to be seen as Marakby notes that the company doesn’t plan to “put customers in [its self-driving Lyft test vehicles] until we are certain our technology delivers a positive, reassuring experience where we can gain meaningful feedback.”