Autonomous or self-driving cars have always been one of those things that consumers have constantly been promised, but never really gotten the chance to experience.
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That could all change in 2021 thanks to Ford (NYSE: F).
Is Ford working alone?
The famous ol’ automobile maker is working with Argo AI — an autonomous driving technology company of which Ford owns a considerable stake — as well as Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT).
Miami will be the first lucky recipients of self-driving cars later this year, along with a few safety drivers to ensure things don’t go pear-shaped in the early days of this venture. The trio has also laid out plans to expand to the Texan city of Austin next year followed by the rollout of about 1,000 self-driving cars in multiple markets within five years.
Industry moves slowly at times, which is evidenced here in its five-year plan, but consumers finally have a tangible timeline on actual self-driving rollouts. It is certainly quicker than much of the competition out there:
- General Motors expects to have full self-driving within the decade.
- Volkswagen’s ‘microbus’ is not expected until 2025 at the earliest.
- Tesla remains riddled with ‘self-driving’ issues, including multiple consumer rights investigations.
Self-driving is still a completely untapped market in a multi-billion dollar industry. Between its applications in ride-hailing — as we’ll see with this Lyft partnership — in shipping, military applications, and more, this could be the renaissance that the auto industry needs.