Unlike Uber and China’s Didi, Lyft isn’t developing its own self-driving cars. But the U.S. company sure is signing up major names to help it bridge the gap.
This week it announced Ford as its latest autonomous car partner. Ford joins big names Jaguar, GM and Alphabet’s Waymo as well startups Nutonomy and Drive.ai as Lyft allies.
Recently recognized as top of the industry when it comes to self-driving cars, Ford said recently that it is committed to working with partners to bring its vehicles to market in ways that actually help consumers. One such early partner is Dominos Pizza — because self-driving cars for pizza deliveries… — while has been testing the social aspect of self-driving cars through an interesting trial that featured a man driving a car while disguised as a seat.
Taxis is an obvious areas for the company to push into, but there isn’t likely to be any immediate impact. The duo appear to be taking a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach.
That’s according to a blog post from Ford’s Sherif Marakby — who heads up autonomous and electric vehicles within the automotive giant — which also appeared to pour shade on Uber, which is also his former employer:
Some view the opportunity with self-driving vehicles as a race to be first. But we are focusing our efforts on building a service based around actual people’s needs and wants. We are placing a high priority on safety and dependability so customers will trust the experience that our self-driving technology will one day enable.
2017 has been a year of progress for Lyft, achieved in no small measure thanks to a series of disasters for Uber.
Lyft reached one million daily rides in July and, while that lags Uber’s daily average of 5.5 million worldwide, data reported by Bloomberg weeks later suggested that Lyft is actually growing faster than its rival.
Revelations of sexual harassment in the workplace, former CEO Travis Kalanick being caught of video berating a driver, and the use of a controversial greyball program to side-step law enforcement officials are among the disasters that eventual led to Kalanick quitting the company in June.