Lyft Partners with Alphabet Inc’s Waymo to Launch Self-Driving Car Pilots

Waymo and Lyft teamed up to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts.

A promising partnership is coming in the market of self-driving vehicles. Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has teamed up with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft. According to the information provided by two people familiar with the agreement who preferred to stay anonymous, the two companies joined efforts to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts.

Both companies have already confirmed the agreement.

“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,” a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement.

A Waymo spokesman said, “Lyft’s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo’s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.”

Waymo and Lyft don’t reveal many details about the upcoming collaborative work. They haven’t commented so far what products are planned to be brought to market and when the public will be able to see the results of the collaboration.

The autonomous vehicle industry is expected to ultimately become multibillion-dollar so multiple players including technology companies, automakers and components manufacturers enter the market to get a piece of the pie. In order to outdistance competitors, companies team up.

The alliance between Waymo and Lyft endangers the leadership of Uber, the world’s biggest ride-hailing company. Lyft is a distant No. 2 to Uber among ride-hailing services in the United States while Waymo competes with Uber in the development of technology for autonomous cars. Reportedly, Uber has used stolen Waymo trade secrets to develop such a technology.

Apart from the announced collaboration, both Waymo and Lyft have their own partnerships.

Last year, Lyft unveiled its plans to match its network of passengers and drivers with partners in the transportation industry. It started working with General Motors, its major investor, to test autonomous Chevrolet Bolt vehicles using Lyft’s network with the general public in the next few years.

Waymo has partnered with Fiat Chrysler to work on a fleet of minivans and is negotiating a possible deal with Honda to put Waymo technology in Honda test vehicles. Waymo has also recently announced a pilot program in Phoenix that allows people to hail self-driving Chrysler minivans and Lexuses for free rides around the city.

Last month, Uber shared ambitious plans to take ridesharing to the air and promises to present flying cars in Dallas-Fort Worth and, of course, Dubai by 2020. Perhaps, the very word ‘ambitious’ doesn’t reflect the entire picture as neither electric vehicles with vertical takeoff and landing capability that can cover 100 miles in just 40 minutes, nor the infrastructure to support them, actually exist yet.

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