Fields didn't specify yet which cities Chariot's Ford Transit shuttles would be popping up in, but as he told TechCrunch the company plans to analyze the needs of each market before adding service. As the newest piece of Ford's Smart Mobility subsidiary, Chariot currently operates in San Francisco and Austin, running along popular morning and evening commute routes. The service falls somewhere between ridesharing and public transit -- riders use a smartphone app to secure seats, but they still have to catch the bus at a certain time along the prescribed route. In San Francisco, at least, the company started with one line and added more as demand increased and the company is currently running a test program to get people around Lake Tahoe.
While a new ridesharing option might be a godsend for many weary commuters in the short term, in the long term Ford hopes to improve infrastructure as a whole through closer partnerships between cities and transportation providers. And with the goal of launching autonomous ridesharing by 2021, those Chariots could be driving themselves in the next five years.