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Lyft to Develop Self-Driving Car Technology in New Silicon Valley Facility

22 July, 2017, 00:55 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Lyft is following Uber into self-driving cars

Rather than trying to catch up to those firms by building vehicles of its own, Lyft's focus is on designing a common software interface that automakers can use to put their cars on the road and interact with the public.

As The New York Times notes, Lyft's strategy looks nothing like Uber's or Apple's. It envisages a combination hardware and software kit, with which third-party manufacturers such as automakers could easily upgrade their cars to delete the driver. It's also collecting information on the routes they drive that will help it create a mapping system for the vehicles. It's opening a new facility in Palo Alto, California to house its team and expects several hundred people to work there by the end of 2018.

Lyft's new Palo Alto office dedicated to developing self-driving technology.

The company is promising always to use a "hybrid network" in which drivers are on hand to assist the robot vehicles - noting that this is going to remain necessary indefinitely in numerous 350 cities worldwide where Lyft operates and where detailed maps are not available.

In Boston, that will mean riders could be ferried about in vehicles built by Cambridge-based Nutonomy. "I think Lyft is big enough to do that, but I'm not sure what the business case is for them to do this part of it".

Perhaps more than most others, Lyft seemingly has laid the groundwork for deploying autonomous vehicles among a varied fleet.

Vincent, who joined Lyft early this year, previously spent 12 years at Google, where he led development of Google Street View, a part of Google Maps that provides panoramic views along many streets worldwide.

For both Uber and Lyft, self-driving cars are a frontier crucial to their success. "We're hoping-and, frankly, pushing-things like adjusted pricing and smart lanes, and that's a strong part of our vision for the next 10 to 20 years for our intended deployment and rollout of autonomous-vehicle platforms".

Self-driving cars are expected to play a key role in the future of transportation, according to tech and automotive executives.

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. It is also unclear how much, if any, revenue the autonomous carmakers will receive from Lyft when their vehicles successfully complete a ride.


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