Lyft Accelerates Efforts to Develop Self-driving Cars

Lyft is following Uber into self-driving cars

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

However, Lyft employs a team to work on regulatory matters and has made in-roads in Washington for other issues in the past. Individual manufacturers may retain the data collected by their own vehicles, but Lyft declined to say whether, for example, Waymo will be able to study data collected by Nutonomy's vehicles and vice versa.

The ride-sharing service announced Friday, July 21, 2017 it will develop the hardware and software to power its own self-driving vehicles, a dramatic departure in strategy.

It will likely be some time before we see the fruits of Lyft's latest labor but if all goes well, advocates speculate that more self-driving cars of any company's could significantly drop traffic-related congestion, accidents and pollution - if not at least less awkward small talk with your driver. "Level 5 is the ultimate level in building autonomous vehicles".

"We look at this as an opportunity to take what we're developing and give it to others", said Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer.

The ride sharing company has chose to start a self-driving division with a facility in Palo Alto, California, rather than continuing to rely on partnerships to gain the technology in what company leadership is calling the Open Platform Initiative, CNBC reported.

The company posted this to their site Thursday in conjunction with a media event in San Francisco, announcing "The open era of autonomous", stressing the partnerships and saying, "Together, we can accelerate the growth of self-driving technology and improve the safety and quality of life in our cities".

Automakers without self-driving cars will find an eager partner in Lyft.

"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.

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

It's also banking on its Express Drive program - which allows drivers to rent Lyft vehicles - as a secret weapon.

In an interview with CNBC, Vincent said: "When a passenger requests a ride that a self-driving auto can complete, we may send one to complete the trip". It's not clear if all the drivers would get new jobs, how many jobs would be created or how much they'd be paid.