Merchant Innovation

Self-Driving Vehicle Tech In Store For Lyft?

San Francisco-based ride hailing outfit Lyft is gearing up to bring self-driving vehicle technology to market. But, as the AP reports, the approach will differ from that seen with other companies.

Lyft announced July 21 it is opening up its network and inviting companies across the technology and automotive arenas to collect data and help get self-driving vehicles from place to place as they “haul passengers.”  The firm may also share software and sensor technology, the newswire noted.

The open source attempt, dubbed “Level Five,” is one that Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s chief strategy officer, said melds Lyft’s network experience with the expertise of those tech and auto firms. The open network initiative takes its place alongside — and will be available to — the partnerships in place with Google and General Motors (GM).

“We believe this is [inevitably] where the world is going,” Kapoor told AP. “We need to be playing this role.”

Possible revenue sharing opportunities loom, as GM may run its self-driving vehicles via the Lyft network. In fact, data from GM technology might be used to create maps and direct those vehicles while they are on the road. Several hundred employees are slated to join the effort by the end of next year, the firm said.

In other recent news tied to Lyft, the company has been gaining some ground on Uber, its chief rival in the United States, in the wake of Uber's rather public missteps and controversies involving top brass. The market share in the country for Uber has dipped to 77 percent as of May of this year, a decrease from 84 percent at the beginning of 2017. Lyft, in the meantime, has boosted its bookings to a triple-digit growth rate.

The company has also been expanding its footprint in the wake of a $600 million financing round earlier in the year.



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