Published: Sat, July 22, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Lyft is following Uber into self-driving cars

Lyft is following Uber into self-driving cars

"If that person needs to go somewhere self-driving cars are unable to navigate, or their needs call for a different level of service, they will have a driver", Vincent said in a blog post on Medium.

And Lyft said that if its in-house self-driving technology reaches maturity, it will rely on the automobile industry to build a vehicle rather than building one themselves.

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

Lyft sees developing self-driving technology as core to its business.

"We want a proactive role in pushing the industry", Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer, said at the company's San Francisco offices.

Until Friday's announcement, Lyft's public self-driving effort has focused on partnerships.

Transportation company Lyft announced Friday it's launching a self-driving auto division and will develop its own ride-hailing technology. As the Chron notes, recently deposed CEO Travis Kalanick once infamously bragged that the company's self-driving vehicles would allow him to stop having to pay "the dude" in the driver's seat. "Some people prefer to have a human driver; in the short run there will be instances that self-driving cars can't handle". Or companies could be wary of teaming up with Lyft because it is developing its own self-driving system.

The other thing to consider, with all this talk of unleashing the unmanned robots to drive us, is the toll it will take on Uber and Lyft's human drivers.

With the arrival of autonomous transportation, passengers will enjoy a state-of-the-art ride.

"The tests paid off, however, with a much-needed confirmation of Waymo's closed environment testing - its in-house designed sensor hardware, as well as its onboard autonomous driving computers, are road ready for extreme heat". In Lyft's ideal world, that could mean a quicker spread of Lyft's technology among automakers. Lyft officials also hinted that the company will announce another partnership in the near future.

Partnering with an existing automaker or technology firm with advanced knowledge of autonomous driving systems seems like the safest and least expensive route - at least, in the short-term.

"GM's plan remains steadfast - we are on track to launch our self-driving technology first in a ride-sharing application", the company said in a statement.

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.

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