Uber had the lead on ride-hailing and self-driving cars for a while, but it’s encountered some roadblocks.
Now Lyft is jumping in, with the announcement that the U.S. ride-hailing company will develop its own self-driving technology at a facility in Silicon Valley.
“We believe Lyft is in the best position to demonstrate what a great overall user experience can be. Lyft is also uniquely positioned to build technology in collaboration with partners in a way that makes it possible to roll out self-driving cars at scale in the fastest, safest, most efficient way,” Lyft Vice President of Engineering Luc Vincent wrote in a Medium post announcing Lyft’s plans.
Lyft earlier this year introduced an open self-driving platform that allowed car manufacturers and self-driving systems to sync with Lyft’s network. Now, Lyft’s own self-driving cars will operate on that network too. And Lyft will continue to work in tandem with other stakeholders developing self-driving technology through that platform.
Lyft’s self-driving headquarters will be called the Level 5 Engineering Center, named for the level of self-driving that is entirely autonomous, compared to cars that require some human attention. Ten percent of Lyft’s engineers are working on this technology.
In the future, Lyft’s full network of self-driving cars and drivers will be integrated so that a ride you order could end up being completed by either a car or a human driver.