Lyft says it will build its own driverless vehicle technology

Lyft says it will build its own driverless vehicle technology

Lyft says it will build its own driverless vehicle technology

Lyft previously announced partnerships with Alphabet's self-driving division, Waymo, technology company Nutonomy, and automakers General Motors Co and Jaguar Land Rover. Uber began testing self-driving cars a year ago.

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

The California-based company said it will hire hundreds of people by the end of this year, and lease 50,000 square feet for lab space and open testing space. It visualizes a hybrid network of human-driven and self-driving cars, with the system selecting whichever is best for a passenger's requested route. Taking advantage of its large network of drivers, Lyft is already deploying sensors on their cars to gather such data.

Lyft's "Open Platform Initiative" is created to provide customers with the opportunity to access vehicles from its partners such as Waymo and nuTonomy. "You're going to see these vehicles on the street", said Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft's senior director of product.

"Drivers play an important role and will continue to play an important role", Kapoor said.

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Today, the ride-hailing company officially announced that it will develop a suite of hardware and software that will allow any manufacturer to turn its vehicles into autonomous vehicles.

Lyft's cice president of engineering Luc Vincent pointed out that partnerships, also, will make the entire process of bringing autonomous vehicles to market more cost-effective, because you're sharing "lots of off-the-shelf equipment [and] lots of building blocks of software". While that happens, Lyft thinks its contracted human drivers will initially benefit from autonomous cars: "We believe that in the first five or more years following the introduction of autonomous vehicles, the need for human drivers will actually increase, not decrease", wrote Lyft cofounder John Zimmer on Medium last year.

The company's move to jump into the autonomous vehicle sphere is relatively late compared to the likes of Waymo, Uber, Tesla and others who have spent more time developing the technology, however Lyft says that it is not concerned by this.

"What we're doing now is creating the software and hardware to enable a auto to be autonomous", said Kapoor.

They could become assistants for elderly passengers or even in-car baristas, it said. "It will happen in small pockets".

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