Lyft plans to build own self-driving tech to rival Uber & Google

Violet Tucker
Июля 22, 2017

While Uber Technologies Inc. has embarked on a costly mission to develop self-driving vehicles, rival Lyft Inc. set a different course, relying on a partnerships for what many believe is the future of urban transportation. As the Associated Press reports, Lyft announced the launch of their new Level Five engineering division on Thursday, which will consist of about 200 employees by the end of the year, all based in Palo Alto.

Lyft had previously started development in the autonomous vehicle space, but had been doing so via partnerships with the likes of Google subsidiary, Waymo and General Motors, who had been developing their own technology in the space.

Chief strategy officer for Lyft Raj Kapoor told Reuters, "We are putting down the accelerator significantly on investment on this".

Lyft's new Palo Alto office dedicated to developing self-driving technology. Carmakers are inching towards building cars that really do drive themselves. All these companies will be free to put their cars into service picking up Lyft passengers, and Lyft is hoping to be able to encourage the sharing of information in the creation of the highly detailed city maps that are required to make the technology run smoothly. Vehicle manufacturers and self-driving systems can access the network for insights on a "diverse set of real-life scenarios", based on Lyft's almost one million rides per day. But Lyft is also beginning to pursue a more proprietary approach.

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

Lyft's "Open Platform Initiative" is created to provide customers with the opportunity to access vehicles from its partners such as Waymo and nuTonomy. But Lyft hasn't said what'll happen to those drivers after the robots fully take over.

"We're very excited to see the autonomous-vehicle technology's ability to reduce vehicle-miles traveled and the comfort people will have in getting rid of their cars", he said. It plans to outfit these vehicles with cameras and sensors to collect data that will ultimately train its self-driving cars.

In a blog post, Vincent went even further: "Lyft will always operate a hybrid network, with rides from both human-driven and self-driving cars", he wrote. 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 auto company.

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