Ford teams up with Lyft to bring driverless cars 'to the masses'

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Ford's self-driving cars will be rolled out on Lyft's network (Source: Getty)

Ford has set up a partnership with Uber rival Lyft to crank up its driverless car efforts.

In a post on Medium today, Ford vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, Sherif Marakby, said the car giant was teaming up with Lyft by initially offering vehicles driven by people on Lyft's fleet to test out its technology platform and how it lines up with Lyft's app.

The eventual goal is making Ford's driverless vehicles available to Lyft customers. 

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Marakby said the move will help both firms "progress toward a more affordable, dependable and accessible transportation future". 

He wrote:

Someday, when you open the Lyft app during a period of high demand, Ford and Lyft software will need to be capable of quickly dispatching a self-driving vehicle so that you can get to your destination as quickly and as safely as possible.

Ford's experience with large-scale manufacturing coupled with Lyft's network of customers and growing demand for rides made for a suitable tie-up, Marakby added.

Among the questions the partnership aims to address is what sort of infrastructure will be needed to service and maintain a fleet of driverless vehicles to make sure they are available whenever consumers need them.

Developments in driverless cars have been speeding along, with a large range of both traditional car firms and tech giants looking to get in on the action. 

But Marakby said Ford wasn't viewing the opportunity as "a race to be first", and instead wanted to focus on establishing a service "based around actual people's needs and wants", prioritising safety and dependability.

He did though, add: "We expect that our partnership with Lyft will accelerate our efforts to build a profitable and viable self-driving vehicle business."

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