Ford partners with Lyft to develop autonomous car for 2021

Ford's plans for an autonomous taxi service become a little clearer with announcement that mobility company Lyft is on side

Ford autonomous car

Ford has announced a new partnership with ride-hailing app Lyft, which the carmaker says will allow both companies to develop autonomous driving systems at a faster rate.

Ford says its existing development work and investments in self-driving cars pair off well alongside Lyft’s expertise in urban transport and its large pre-existing customer base. 

Self-driving cars: everything you need to know

Last year, Ford confirmed that it is aiming to sell a high-volume self-driving car by 2021, with a view to creating an on-demand autonomous taxi service with the vehicles. The move to partner with a ridesharing company such as Lyft appears to be the next step in the company’s autonomous vehicle vision.

Directly with Lyft, Ford will work to create a self-driving technology platform that easily integrates with Lyft’s pre-existing network. The two companies will also decide which cities will be most receptive to the service when it launches.

Ford isn’t the only car company to invest in Lyft. Early in 2016, General Motors sank £378m into the ride-hailing company, while Uber and Mercedes have a similar agreement in place to that of the new partnership between Ford and Lyft. 

Ford has sunk significant investment into self-driving tech over the last year, doubling staff at its Palo Alto Research and Innovation Center. It has tripled its testing fleet in the US, with around 30 Ford Fusion (Mondeo in the UK) cars being used to develop the autonomous tech.

The future self-driving car is planned to have 'level four autonomy', which means it can drive itself on any road without any input from a driver, and won't even have a steering wheel or pedals. 

Last year, former Ford CEO Mark Fields compared the tech to the innovations of Henry Ford in the early 20th Century: "The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford's moving assembly line did 100 years ago. 

"We're dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people - not just those who can afford luxury vehicles."

Ford's path to autonomous cars involves investment and research with several companies specialising in upcoming car tech such as LiDAR, artificial intelligence and mapping including Velodyne, SAIPS and Civil Maps. 

Now read our complete guide to self-driving cars.

Recommended

Team Fordzilla P1 virtual hypercar designed by gamers
Ford

Team Fordzilla P1 virtual hypercar designed by gamers

Ford recruited online racers to design their own virtual hypercar concept and the futuristic Team Fordzilla P1 is the result
26 Aug 2020
Jim Farley to replace Jim Hackett as Ford’s CEO and President
Ford

Jim Farley to replace Jim Hackett as Ford’s CEO and President

Hackett has retired from his leadership position after just three years at the helm and is succeeded by Farley, the brand’s acting COO
4 Aug 2020
‘It’s Ford’s turn to grab the headlines once again’
Ford

‘It’s Ford’s turn to grab the headlines once again’

With the cars such as the Mustang Mach-E and Bronco, editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Ford is on a roll
22 Jul 2020
New 2021 Ford Bronco off-roader: specs, video and full details
Ford

New 2021 Ford Bronco off-roader: specs, video and full details

Ford has revived the classic Bronco nameplate, providing a new retro-styled competitor for the Land Rover Defender
15 Jul 2020

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class
Car group tests

Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class

The Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are strong competitors in the premium hatchback market - we find out which is best
19 Sep 2020
New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review
Rolls-Royce Ghost

New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review

The all-new luxury Rolls-Royce Ghost saloon brings new levels of refinement
18 Sep 2020