Lyft to partner with Google's Waymo on self-driving cars

By Mike Bambach
Lyft to partner with Google's Waymo on self-driving cars
Joseph Okpaku, vice president of government relations for Lyft, testifies during the "Hands Off: The Future of Self-Driving Cars" hearing at Russell Senate Building on March 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Issues including safety, price, and terrorism are factors to address prior to bringing self-driving cars to market. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

May 14 (UPI) -- Lyft is joining forces with Google's automotive business to develop self-driving cars, company officials said.

Waymo, Google's self-driving car unit, has signed a deal with the No. 2 rideshare company in the United States behind Uber, The New York Times reported.


Waymo completed its first public trials with passengers this month in Phoenix. Uber, which plans to introduce a flying taxi service by 2020, is also testing autonomous cars there.

"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.

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Waymo sued Uber, claiming it was using secrets stolen by a former engineer to develop its self-driving technology. On Monday, a San Francisco District Judge ordered Uber to return thousands of "pilfered" files to Waymo.

"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 said in an emailed statement.

Lyft is also working on autonomous technology with General Motors, which plans to build a self-driving vehicle facility in San Francisco.

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It's the latest initiative in autonomous automobiles.

In April, Telecom giant Verizon invested in Renovo Auto, an autonomous vehicle startup founded in 2010 and best known for converting a vintage DeLorean into a self-driving car.

Also last month, South Korea's government announced plans to open K-City -- the world's largest test site for self-driving cars in October.

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The 88-acre test bed will be dwarfed by the new American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Mich. The U.S. Department of Transportation broke ground on the 335-acre Willow Run site last year.

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