The cab of the future may be driverless.
Ford (F) is working to integrate its autonomous cars with Lyft's ride-hailing software so someday Ford can carry Lyft passengers.
The two companies will link their software in a partnership announced Wednesday.
At first human-driven cars from Ford will carry Lyft passengers. The automaker plans to connect its self-driving test cars to Lyft's network. But they won't carry passengers until they're fully tested. The companies didn't give a time frame for integrating services.
"Our developer teams already are working together, programming our systems so they can communicate with one another," wrote Ford vice president Sherif Marakby in a blog post about the effort. "We also will connect our self-driving test vehicles to Lyft's network."
He added, "We don't, however, plan to put customers in them until we are certain our technology delivers a positive, reassuring experience where we can gain meaningful feedback."
Ford is working with other companies to test and expand the market for self-driving cars. Last month, itto see if customers will warm to the idea of pizza delivered by driverless cars. In their test, customers will receive no ring of the doorbell, just a text.
With the test, consumers will have to come out of their homes and type a four-digit code into a keypad mounted on the Domino's car. That will open the rear window and let customers retrieve their order from a heated compartment.
Ford says it expects the Lyft partnership to accelerate its self-driving car efforts. The company has said it wants to develop a fully driverless vehicle by 2021.
In July Lyft announced it would open its network to other companies for self-driving car research. Lyft also has partnerships with Google's Waymo autonomous car unit and General Motors.