Lyft Is Pumping Up Its Self-Driving Car Development Program

Lyft Is Pumping Up Its Self-Driving Car Development Program

Also unlike Uber, Lyft is being careful not to write drivers out of the equation. Lyft's new self-driving team will work out of a brand-new Palo Alto, Calif. development facility dubbed Level 5 Engineering Center.

As Uber implodes spectacularly, ride-hailing company Lyft is again following its biggest competitor's footsteps, this time diving headfirst into a massive autonomous auto project that could someday send its human drivers off to some other corner of the godforsaken sharing economy.

"We want to take a proactive role into pushing the industry into a more open environment", Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer told reporters on Thursday at an event according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Lyft is uniquely positioned to build technology in collaboration with partners in a way that will make it possible to roll out self-driving cars at scale in the fastest, safest, most efficient way", Luc Vincent, Lyft's vice president of engineering, said, CNBC reported. Some industry officials fear that a lack of uniform rules and expectations could hinder the development of self-driving cars by effectively preventing vehicles from crossing state lines.

The San Francisco-based company says it will open its self-driving vehicle network, inviting automakers and tech companies to use it to haul passengers and gather data. The so-called Open Platform, which Lyft announced in June, could feature vehicles from other partners as well, such as GM and Jaguar Land Rover, which entered into a deal with Lyft last month.

Long-term, robot taxis will lower ride costs, inspiring more consumers to subscribe to transportation services, rather than owning their own cars, Kapoor said, analogous to how the cheaper rides from Uber and Lyft grew the industry beyond the size of the taxi market.

A nu Tonomy self-driving taxi drives on the road in its public trial in Singapore
A nu Tonomy self-driving taxi drives on the road in its public trial

Lyft imagines self-driving cars will take over the road gradually.

There may be no need to tip you Lyft driver in Boston later this year - because there may no be a driver.

The new self-driving division will consist of hundreds of employees dedicated to creating a complete self-driving software and hardware kit that can be integrated into vehicles provided by partners.

It may seem odd to have so many businesses, some of which are direct competitors, collaborating on self-driving cars.

As technology evolves, we'll face a hybrid ecosystem of both human-driven and autonomous vehicles.

Despite Uber's venture into autonomous cars set a negative tone after facing suspension and a major lawsuit, another ridesharing service is taking a crack at driverless driving.




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