Ford and ride-sharing service Lyft have announced a new partnership that will aim to make autonomous cars affordable and accessible to the public.
The collaborative agreement will explore several key areas, including how to create a technology platform that can allow the effective dispatch of a driverless vehicle to a customer, which cities are suitable for such a service based on shared data, along with the kind of infrastructure necessary to facilitate and maintain a fleet of autonomous cars.
Both companies say there will be a high priority placed on the safety and dependability of the service in order to build customer trust in driverless vehicles, though Ford will initially deploy a fleet of human-driven vehicles to customers on Lyft's ride-sharing network to test the new interface and compatibility with the Lyft smartphone app.
At the same time, however, Ford will test driverless vehicles on Lyft's network - though not with customers - in order to develop the technology. The aim is to have self-driving cars work alongside human-driven cars in the future to satisfy customer demand while also ensuring transportation is "timely and affordable".