The Google spinoff says it will partner with Lyft, Uber?s biggest ride-hailing rival, to help test and launch self-driving cars.
Having access to this new technology would be a big coup for Lyft, as Waymo?s self-driving efforts are ? quite literally ? miles ahead of the pack. Waymo announced last month that it plans to add 500 self-driving cars to its fleet, and the vehicles are improving as they come online.
Compared to Waymo ? and Uber, which has an entire division dedicated to autonomous research ? Lyft?s efforts on self-driving vehicles are badly lagging. The company partnered with GM early last year, but isn?t ready to test a fleet. It only has a few GM research vehicles (for now).
Both Lyft and Waymo confirmed to HuffPost the news of their partnership, although neither company could share details about the deal ? which comes at a curious time. Waymo is currently engaged in a fierce legal battle with Uber, as it has accused the company of stealing the self-driving technology it?s now sharing with Lyft.
?We?re looking forward to working with Lyft to explore new self-driving products that will make our roads safer and transportation more accessible,? a Waymo spokeswoman told HuffPost. ?Lyft?s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo?s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.?
Lyft has a history of teaming up with Uber?s rivals, albeit with limited success. In 2015, it partnered with the Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing while Uber attempted to make inroads in the country. The partnership skidded to a halt last summer, however, after Uber agreed to sell its Chinese operations and take an ownership stake in Didi.
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