Development represents an advance for ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles
In the beginning only 10 minivans will be available on Lyft’s haling app in a handful of suburbs around Phoenix. Lyft riders will have the option on their app of selecting a ride in a Waymo self-driving vehicle. However, there will be safety drivers behind the wheel. Even though the development appears limited it nevertheless represents a significant advance for both the development of ride-hailing but also of self-driving vehicles.
Lyft is also facilitating trips in the tech company Aptiv’s self-driving cars in Las Vegas. Waymo, a spinoff from Google or Alphabet has been mapping streets in Phoenix suburbs for two year now and is seen as having some of the best autonomous driving technology available at present.
Development announced two years back
The Waymo Lyft partnership was announced last May 18 with Waymo saying: “We’re looking forward to working with Lyft to explore new self-driving products that will make our roads safer and transportation more accessible. Lyft’s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo’s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.”
Lyft’s statement at the time also made positive promises: “We can confirm that we are partnering with Waymo to safely and responsibly launch self-driving vehicle pilots. Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation.”
Other Waymo self-driving hailing projects in the Phoenix area
Waymo is already running two projects in the Phoenix area. Waymo One has carried over 1,000 riders to school, work, or shoppers. Secondly, it has an early rider program that requires participants to sign a nondisclosure agreement before they can experience riding in some of the company’s latest updates. Waymo One is only available to these former early riders but there is no nondisclosure agreement required.
Terms of the new agreement were not revealed
No one knows how Waymo and Lyft are sharing fares or dealing with customer service issues. In 2017 Alphabet’s (Google) invested $ 1 billion in Lyft. The new deal will allow those not involved in its early rider program to participate for the first time.
Waymo CEO, John Krafcik said: “This first step in our partnership will allow us to introduce the Waymo Driver to Lyft users, enabling them to take what for many will be their first ride in a self-driving vehicle.We’re committed to continuously improving our customer experience, and our partnership with Lyft will also give our teams the opportunity to collect valuable feedback.”