Good news for riders who don’t want a chatty Lyft (LYFT) driver. The ride-hailing service announced Wednesday that it will have a fleet of self-driving cars from Ford (F) and Argo AI in service by the end of the year.
Ford will debut the autonomous vehicles in Miami this year and Austin, Texas, in 2022. The companies said Wednesday they hope to have 1,000 self-driving cars across multiple cities by 2026.
“This collaboration is special because we’re executing on a shared vision for improving the safety, access to and affordability of transportation in our cities,” said Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO, Argo AI, said in the release. “Beyond the link that Lyft provides to the customer, we’ll be able to work together to define where an autonomous service will benefit communities the most and ensure we’re deploying the technology safely.”
Austin is also where TeslaTSLA is building a factory, while CEO Elon Musk has talked up his company’s own self-driving capabilities though he recently acknowledged autonomy is harder than he thought.
Under the terms of the deal, Lyft will receive a 2.5% equity stake in Argo AI for data related to the self-driving car trips. Argo AI is also backed by Volkswagen (VWAGY), which plans to debut a self-driving bus by 2025.
Lyft customers in Miami will be offered the option to ride in an autonomous vehicle when ordering from the app. To start, the cars will still have two safety drivers to ensure the vehicle is performing correctly.
Self-Driving Cars Take To The Road
Ford shares rose 2% to close a 14.19 on the stock market today. Ford stock is consolidating with a 16.55 buy point. Lyft shares climbed 5.3%.
Lyft has invested in self-driving car options for several years in Las Vegas and Phoenix. But the current driver shortage has put renewed pressure on investment in autonomous vehicles. Ford has been testing cards with Argo AI technology in Washington, D.C., Detroit and Palo Alto, Calif.
Lyft rival Uber (UBER) sold its self-driving technology to Aurora Technologies in December as it looked to focus on boosting revenue.
Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for transportation news and more.
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