Despite the company’s ongoing partnership with GM/Cruise, Waymo/Google, and Nutonomy, Lyft will be opening its own self-driving car division, according to recent reports.
To be more specific, Lyft will be opening a self-driving vehicle tech development center in Palo Alto, California. The center will be staffed by “several hundred” engineers. The engineers stationed at that facility will be collaborating with those from other firms on development efforts.
“We are putting down the accelerator significantly on investment on this,” commented Raj Kapoor, chief strategy officer for Lyft, at the time of the announcement.
“The company, which will not be manufacturing the actual cars, offered no timeline for its self-driving ambitions,” Reuters notes. “Executives said Lyft would share data from its self-driving efforts with other companies joining the collaboration. Lyft does not have a permit to test autonomous cars in California, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The company plans to launch a pilot with Nutonomy in Boston by year-end.
“… Lyft’s 700,000 drivers complete more than 200 million rides and 1.2 billion miles (1.9 billion km) a year in the 350 cities where it operates, which executives said gave the company detailed knowledge of traffic patterns, bridges, construction, and other roadway data critical for building autonomous systems.”
That will no doubt be helpful when pursuing self-driving vehicle tech development. It’ll be interesting to see if much comes of the company’s new self-driving vehicle tech division, or if, as is a possibility, the company ends up eventually relying mostly on one of its partner’s future tech packages.
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