Lyft develops self-driving car facility in California to compete against rivals Uber and Google in driverless race.
Rideshare company Lyft has revealed that it will be opening its own self-driving car facility in Palo Alto, California, while also developing its own autonomous car technology.
The decision follows the company’s plan to move forward from its regular partnerships in the self-driving field and instead enter the market with its own technology. It is likely that Lyft has also made such decisions to catch up with rival Uber.
Being the biggest move Lyft has made in the autonomous car market, the company refers to it as an ‘Open Platform Initiative.’
Luc Vincent, VP of Engineering, Lyft said: “It’s too strategic for us not to be a player. 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.”
According to executives of the company, Lyft will continue to operate its transport network but will eventually begin using autonomous cars together with human drivers in a “hybrid” network.
The company said it expects there to be hundreds working on the development of the self-driving technology at its Palo Alto facility, which it expects to be open in a few weeks.
Lyft’s ‘Open Platform Initiative’ is designed to provide customers with the opportunity to access vehicles from its partners such as Waymo and nuTonomy. The company will also be offering cars with its own Lyft self-driving technology.
In an interview with CNBC, Vincent said: “When a passenger requests a ride that a self-driving car can complete, we may send one to complete the trip. 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.”
The new investment shows the company’s plan to steer customers to the best of both worlds, while accelerating onwards in ongoing competition with rival Uber.