Ford, Lyft and Argo team up to deploy robotaxis

Ford, Lyft and Argo team up to deploy robotaxis

7/22/2021 2:33:00 AM

Ford, Lyft and Argo team up to deploy robotaxis

A team-up with Lyft will allow Ford-backed Argo AI to launch an self-driving taxi fleet in Miami and Austin previously than earlier planned.

Learning to predict local traffic quirks is a challenge for companies looking to develop safe self-driving cars. To speed the process, Argo AI is testing its robotaxis in a half-dozen cities at once.Salesky said that his company’s initiative with Ford and Lyft is a more complex endeavor than those currently underway.

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“We’re in much more challenging areas,” Salesky said. “We’re in cities where there’s a substantial ride-share and goods delivery demand, which makes for great businesses.”AdvertisementIn addition to ride-hailing, the self-driving Ford Escapes also will be used to deliver groceries and other small items in partnerships with other companies Salesky didn’t identify.

The detailed market data Lyft is providing will help accelerate the rollout, Salesky said.“It helps us figure out where to put those vehicles,” Salesky said. “You really understand what the movement patterns are in cities to make sure we’re mapping and testing in the right areas. And the safety data will help us understand human driving performance.” headtopics.com

Lyft sees the deal as pulling together all the players necessary to create a robotaxi business.Advertisement“This collaboration marks the first time all the pieces of the autonomous vehicle puzzle have come together,“ Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green said in a statement. “Each company brings the scale, knowledge and capability in their area of expertise that is necessary to make autonomous ride-hailing a business reality.”

Ford has had a partnership with Lyft since 2017, though the ride-hailing company also received a $500-million investment from GM in 2016. Kelman said GM no longer has representation on Lyft’s board and the automaker isn’t presently pursuing a robotaxi deal with Lyft.

The deployment is slightly earlier than expected. Ford previously said the debut was beingpushed backto 2022 because of pandemic-related delays.“This new agreement is a crucial step toward full commercial operations,” Scott Griffith, CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicle and mobility unit, said in a statement, citing Lyft’s “world-class transportation network.” He said it’s the start of “an important relationship between three dynamic companies.”

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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