A partnership between Google spin-off Waymo and Lyft will soon enable attendees to request self-driving cars in the Metro Phoenix area.
Driverless cars may go mainstream sooner than you think, thanks to a new partnership between Waymo, a Google spin-off formerly known as the Google self-driving car project, and Lyft, the rideshare company. At least for attendees in Phoenix, who will soon have the chance to experience what if feels like to travel in a driverless car. Both Uber and Lyft already offer customized solutions for business travel and meeting planners.
Over the next few months, Waymo will be deploying 10 vehicles on the Lyft platform in Phoenix. Lyft users then will have the option to select an autonomous Waymo vehicle directly from the Lyft app for eligible rides. For now, drivers will be in the cars in case of malfunctions.
“Waymo and Lyft share a commitment to make our roads safer and transportation more accessible,” said John Krafcik, CEO, Waymo. “This first step in our partnership will allow us to introduce the Waymo Driver to Lyft users, enabling them to take what for many will be their first ride in a self-driving vehicle. We’re committed to continuously improving our customer experience, and our partnership with Lyft will also give our teams the opportunity to collect valuable feedback.”
Uber’s first foray into self-driving cars rolled out in four cities in 2016, but was suspended in 2018 after one of its cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, despite having a human driver on hand as a back-up, according to reports in the N.Y. Times. Last December, the vehicles returned to public roads, although at reduced speeds.
The technology is still being refined but for the rideshare companies, the potential advantages are compelling.
“As we anticipate (ridership) growth and driver growth in the next five years and rideshare grows, we will need more drivers as well as autonomous vehicles,” said Jordan Glassberg, director of business development at Lyft in an interview with PhocusWire’s Kevin May.