WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Startup firm Argo AI and companies Lyft and Ford unveiled their partnership to launch a robo taxi service to Miami and Austin in the US.
- The partnership aims to gain insights on fully commercialized driverless vehicle technology.
- Human drivers in ride-hailing services usually take up 80 percent of the revenue per mile cost.
Automaker Ford Motor Co, ride-hail company Lyft Inc, and self-driving startup Argo AI announced on Wednesday their partnership to work on launching robo taxi trips to customers of Lyft in Austin and Miami.
The service is set to run in Miami before this year ends and in Austin next year.
The Ford Escape hybrid vehicles would still have a safety driver for the initial launch as the group is planning to come up with at least 1,000 robo taxis in the next five years across several US cities.
Lyft’s autonomous team head Jody Kelman said that the first driverless car could be anticipated in 2023.
The collaboration is the first large-scale cooperative between an automaker, a self-driving developer, and a ride-hailing company in the US. The team was hoping to secure significant insights that would help in making robo taxis a feasible business market.
In a blog post, Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky said that the company would obtain anonymized data about passenger trips and safety incidents, which would allow them to make proper technical optimization and come up with safe routes for the trips.
Lyft then, for its part per the agreement, would receive a 2.5 stake in Argo. The AI’s company’s recent value is at $7.5 billion, therefore the equity would be worth $187.5 million. Last month, Argo said that it was targeting to become publicly listed by next year.
On the other hand, Ford will manage the fuel, maintenance, and other services of the robo taxis.
“Our job is to generate the maximum revenue out of each of these vehicles by getting the highest utilization,” Kelman said, as the partnership embarked on the advantage of being a ‘driverless’ vehicle.
According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, human drivers in conventional ride-hailing services typically receive 80 percent of the total per mile cost.
Last April, Lyft turned over its self-driving technology unit to Toyota Motor Corp in exchange for $550 million. The company has announced that it would now concentrate on offering services like consumer interface, fleet management, and routing.
In other news, Lyft has already made booking self-driving cars operational in select cities as they partnered with Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Motional, a collaboration between Aptiv and Hyundai Motor Co.
Source: YAHOO News