To make autonomous vehicles available to ridesharing passengers, Alphabet subsidiary Waymo is teaming up with ride-hailing firm Lyft. The trips are limited to a certain area near Phoenix, Arizona, CNBC reported.
When Lyft clients in specific suburbs of the city opening the Lyft app on their phones, they can opt for a ride in a self-driving Waymo minivan or a traditional vehicle that has a human driver. However, the autonomous minivans will have a safety driver at the helm. The company is said to currently have only a few vehicles available in the area of the Phoenix, with plans to expand to 10 self-driving minivans for Lyft riders.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik sees the relationship as offering both firms “the opportunity to collect valuable feedback,” according to the report. Waymo will be able to get a better sense of how the public interfaces with autonomous vehicles. The report also noted the offering will be available to Lyft passengers who plan to begin and end a trip in an area that is geofenced.
In other recent news from Waymo, the company announced last week that it is partnering with Nissan and Renault to explore all aspects of driverless mobility services for deliveries and passengers in Japan as well as France. The collaboration lets Waymo research regulatory, commercial and legal issues pertaining to transportation-as-a-service, with the goal of creating long-term driverless solutions with the globe’s biggest automaker.
Said Krafcik in a press release at the time, “This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner. With the Alliance’s international reach and scale, our Waymo Driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve riders and commercial deliveries in France, Japan and other countries.”