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Lyft to develop in-house self-driving technology unit

By Ed Adamczyk
Lyft to develop in-house self-driving technology unit
Ride-hailing company Lyft announced Friday it will create its own self-driving vehicle division. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 21 (UPI) -- Transportation company Lyft announced Friday it's launching a self-driving car division and will develop its own ride-hailing technology.

The California-based company said it will hire hundreds of people by the end of 2018 and lease 50,000 square feet for lab space and open testing space.

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Lyft said the efforts will develop hardware and software systems useable for self-driving vehicles.

The plan is a reversal for the company, which previously arranged research partnerships with companies already involved in the development of self-driving cars -- including Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors, Neutonomy and Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo.

Although Lyft has said it will remain in those partnerships, its new model may be similar to that of competitor Uber, which has to date dedicated many millions of dollars into self-driving technology with the help of partners that include Volvo.

Lyft will build sensor packages and leave the majority of the vehicle development to its partners, it said.

A House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee unanimously approved a bill on Wednesday that could establish the first federal laws governing self-driving cars and eliminate the patchwork of state and local regulations governing the fledgling industry. The full committee could hear the bill before Congress' August recess.

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