Lyft's first unmanned autopilot is officially underway. The company is sending autonomous vehicles, developed by the startup NuTonomy, to pick up passengers in the Seaport district of Boston, which is a growing technology center. Cars are not completely driverless, as human safety drivers will remain behind the wheel, ready to take control when necessary. But it's a great moment for Lyft, who has seen his star go up this year, as his main rival, Uber, was harassed by numerous self-inflicted scandals.
Here's how it works: Runners will be randomly paired with one of NuTonomy's driverless cars when using the Lyft application in the Seaport area. NuTonomy, which broke away from MIT in 2013 and was recently purchased by auto supplier Delphi, has been operating driverless cars in Boston since January. The company has been testing at the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in Boston, a small industrial area that does not completely represent the kind of environments a driver would encounter in the city.
"Our partnership with Lyft has two objectives," NuTonomy says in a blog post. "First, we want members of the public to experience driverless vehicles first-hand, so they can better understand the impact that this new technology will have on their lives." Secondly, according to the comments of the participants, the NuTonomy engineers will adapt and They will improve our system, so that we can offer an autonomous transportation experience that is extremely safe, efficient and convenient. "
NuTonomy is not the only one who drives only company to form a team with Lyft. The ride-hail company is working with Drive.ai to implement autonomous taxis in San Francisco, and also has agreements with Ford and Alphabet & # 39; s Waymo.
Lyft is trying to catch up with the efforts of its rival Uber, which operates its own autonomous taxis in Pittsburgh and Phoenix. While Uber may be ahead, it is also immersed in an exponentially greater number of problems than Lyft. The company is being sued by Waymo, which alleges the theft of many of its car secrets without a driver. And Uber vehicles have been involved in numerous accidents and traffic infractions, which raises questions about their safety.
Lyft has won new investments and blocked key partnerships with a broad cast of technology and automotive companies. And with its commitment to developing its own internal self-monitoring software, Lyft seems to be on track to develop a "full stack" of technology to enable the launch of autonomous taxis on its platform.