Google spinoff lifts robot taxis from fantasy and closer to reality
Waymo will deploy driverless cars that can be ordered through an app in Arizona, its main testing ground
Uber rival Lyft has begun offering driverless taxi rides in a tie-up with Waymo, the autonomous car company owned by Google parent Alphabet.
Waymo will deploy 10 driverless vehicles that can be ordered through the Lyft app in Phoenix, Arizona, its main testing ground for autonomous cars.
The move marks something of an anti-Uber alliance between the two companies, and comes just days before Uber is set to go public in the biggest tech flotation in five years.Lyft and Waymo had announced plans to work together on driverless car technology, but the tie-up is the first time Waymo cars will feature in the Lyft app. Waymo, which was spun off from Google in 2016, is widely regarded as the most advanced of the dozens of technology companies working on driverless cars and has been at the forefront of testing cars without a safety driver.
Waymo chief executive John Krafcik said Lyft riders would have the option to select a Waymo car directly in the app in the coming months. The company has been operating its own driverless taxi service, Waymo One, in Phoenix.
Lyft operates only in North America, and is smaller than Uber, giving it fewer resources to research driverless cars, but has sought partnerships with companies such as Waymo and Aptiv, which has been testing in Las Vegas.Uber, meanwhile, has largely focused on developing its own technology, although it was forced to put testing on hold last year when one of its driverless vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
Last week, Lyft revealed it had almost doubled revenues in the first quarter of the year but continued to be heavily loss-making.
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)