Waymo and Lyft have agreed to work together on developing self-driving cars, reports The New York Times, citing sources aware of the matter. Under the deal, the companies will work jointly to get autonomous vehicles into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts.
How Waymo and Lyft can help each other
There are no details on what the partnership will be like, but sources told the Times that the companies will work together on various developmental projects. It can even be possible that Lyft users in some markets might get an opportunity to take rides in Waymo’s self-driving cars.
In a statement to Recode, Waymo said, “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.”
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The partnership between Waymo and Lyft will help develop synergies that are beneficial to both, as they have distinctive but complementary assets. Alphabet’s company does not have a fleet of vehicles like Lyft has, although it does have the technology to infuse new life in those vehicles and help the ride-sharing company outmuscle rivals such as Uber.
Lyft also seems elated by the partnership. In a statement to the Times, the company said that Waymo is far ahead in self-driving technology, and “collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation.”
It is not the first time Lyft has entered into a partnership to push ahead its self-driving technology. The promising start-up has a partnership with General Motors, which acquired self-driving start-up Cruise last year, notes Recode. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if Lyft’s collaboration with Waymo will make it any easier for GM to build its own autonomous vehicles.
Not good for Uber
One thing that comes out clear with this partnership is that Alphabet is in no mood to strike any partnership with Uber, even though the former’s venture arm made one of the biggest investments in the company. The two are engaged in a fierce legal battle in which Waymo has accused the ride-sharing firm of stealing documents pertaining to its self-driving technology. Just last year, David Drummond, Alphabet’s chief legal officer, resigned from Uber’s board.
Waymo’s autonomous cars have covered over 3 million miles on the city roads since the company started in 2009. But this is the first year the company has allowed the public to ride in its vehicles. In February, the company doled out its self-driving cars in the Phoenix area, inviting families and urban commuters to use its minivans, similar to the services offered by ride-sharing aggregators Uber and Lyft. However, Waymo did not charge the riders anything.
This latest partnership between Lyft and Waymo only reflects the dynamic nature of the self-driving car sector. Every participant in the industry, be it auto manufacturers or ancillary manufacturers, is looking to be part of this growing autonomous vehicle shift in one way or another.