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Ford plans to test self-driving cars with Lyft — which is partly owned by GM

Key Points
  • Ford has signed an agreement to place human-driven and autonomous-drive vehicles on Lyft's network
  • Ford said will only deploy the self-driving cars after conducting thorough testing
XYP Photography / Ford

Ford, which has been criticized for not moving faster to develop a strategy for developing autonomous-drive vehicles, is turning to Lyft for help in testing self-driving cars.

The automaker is partnering with Lyft by initially offering human-driven vehicles on the ride-share operator's fleet. Eventually, Ford plans to make its autonomous-drive vehicles available to Lyft customers.

Ford's partnership with Lyft creates the unique situation where the automaker is working with a company that is partially owned by its rival General Motors.

"We don't, however, plan to put customers in them (autonomous drive vehicles) until we are certain our technology delivers a positive, reassuring experience where we can gain meaningful feedback," wrote Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification in a post on Medium on Wednesday.

"When ready, we'll have self-driving cars operating alongside Lyft's current community of drivers to help accommodate times of significant consumer demand to ensure that transportation remains timely and affordable," he said.

The announcement comes one week before Ford CEO Jim Hackett unveils his strategy for transforming the country's second largest automaker.

Hackett became the automaker's CEO earlier this year after Chairman Bill Ford decided the company needed a new approach to compete in a world where transportation is rapidly changing.