Lyft has announced the next phase of its plan to help “end car ownership” with the introduction of its new self-driving division. Lyft says that the new open self-driving system will help “usher in a transportation revolution that improves our communities and quality of life.”
Lyft’s self-driving vehicles will operate on the world’s first open self-driving network that it announced earlier this year. Lyft’s goal is to bring the world’s leading automotive and technology companies onto this single platform to serve a nationwide passenger network.
Ten percent of Lyft’s engineers are already working in the new self-driving division that is housed in a new development facility in Palo Alto, called the Level 5 Engineering Center. Lyft plans to add more engineers to the team in the coming months.
“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.”
How will Lyft’s self driving network work? First Lyft says that it will always operate a hybrid network, with rides from both human-driven and self-driving cars. If a passenger requests a ride that a self-driving car can complete, then a self-driving car may pick up the passenger. 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.
“This is what drives us at Lyft — to build a future where shared, self-driving cars make transportation cheaper and more efficient for everyone. It’s a future where there are fewer cars on the road and less traffic.”