This partnership also includes Lyft providing driving data from its entire network in exchange for a 2.5 per cent stake in Argo AI.
Autonomous vehicle technology startup Argo AI which has been heavily backed by Ford will have over 1000 vehicles that will join the Lyft ride-sharing fleet in the US providing autonomous rides to its customers. Of course, the vehicles are made by Ford and these vehicles will be deployed in Miami and Austin over the next five years. The rides will not be driverless as they will include a human driver behind the wheel. The first Ford vehicles which have the Argo AI self-driving tech will become available on the Lyft app in Miami later this year. Ford and Argo AI had a huge presence in Miami for a while and that’s why it has been a logical choice for Lyft. Austin will be the next city in 2023. Argo AI is also doing tests in Detroit, Palo Alto, Pittsburgh and Washington DC.
Ford and the VW group have invested heavily in Argo AI
“It’s the biggest deployment certainly that we’re doing and that I think anyone else is doing. One thousand cars across six markets is a big leap forward in terms of scaled commercialization,” said Jody Kelman, who is the head of autonomous driving at Lyft. This comes after Lyft sold its Level 5 self-driving unit to Toyota owned Woven Planet.
This partnership also includes Lyft providing driving data from its entire network in exchange for a 2.5 per cent stake in Argo AI. This partnership has boosted the valuation of the startup to beyond $12.4 billion as per a Bloomberg report.
The Lyft data will be useful for Argo AI as it captures driving data, telematics just as hard braking events and collisions. Argo AI wants the safety information around human drivers and trip movements data across a city.
“This will really help us hone and figure out where the demand is and what peak demand looks like, which helps us figure out where we need to map, where we need to go, where we need to operate. It helps us spend our test resources wisely,” said Bryan Salesky, the CEO of Argo AI to Techcrunch.
“We really want to take a holistic view of the demand picture using their data. That helps us really be precise about where to deploy in order to have the greater benefit,” he added.
“Argo and Ford are currently piloting, mapping and preparing for commercial operations of autonomous vehicles in more cities than any other AV collaboration, and this new agreement is a crucial step toward full commercial operations – the addition of Lyft’s world-class transportation network,” Scott Griffith, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles & Mobility Businesses, said in a statement.