Lyft Outlines Self-Driving Car Plans After Earlier Partnerships

Lyft Outlines Self-Driving Car Plans After Earlier Partnerships

Vincent, who joined Lyft in February, said the company's self-driving vehicles will operate on that network alongside vehicles introduced by Lyft partners.

By harnessing deep learning - a powerful type of AI, which wasn't a proven technology when competitors first pursued autonomous driving - Lyft thinks it can catch up.

The ride-sharing service announced Friday it will develop the hardware and software to power its own self-driving vehicles, a dramatic departure in strategy.

Ten percent of Lyft engineers are now focused on developing self-driving technology, and the company is planning to grow that team in the months to come.

This is the biggest move Lyft itself has made into the space, and the company will be developing its own technology. "Level 5 is the ultimate level in building autonomous vehicles".

The executives said the company would soon open a facility in Palo Alto, California, that would eventually be staffed by "several hundred" engineers.

"We want to take a proactive role into pushing the industry into a more open environment", Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer said at a media event Thursday.

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Lyft said its partnership-centric approach is not changing - even as it develops its own autonomous technology, it will continue to partner with other companies that are trying to build self-driving cars.

Also unlike Uber, Lyft is being careful not to write drivers out of the equation.

Lyft's partners will be able to plug its mapping system into their cars and benefit from all the millions of miles travelled by Lyft drivers. Uber began testing self-driving cars a year ago.

Both hope to cut losses by replacing human drivers with autonomous vehicles.

"Lyft is also 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", said Luc Vincent, Lyft's vice president of engineering.

It's also banking on its Express Drive program - which allows drivers to rent Lyft vehicles - as a secret weapon. Safety, experience, and quality are top of mind as we connect with leaders in the self-driving industry. "We're on our way to creating a self-driving system". Uber is facing a protracted trade secrets suit brought by Waymo that alleges that Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 proprietary files while he worked at Alphabet's self-driving vehicle company. When the cost of transportation as a service becomes more affordable than auto ownership, demand will increase - and so will ride requests for drivers and autonomous vehicles.