Ride share company Lyft is driving full speed ahead in efforts to support the self-driving vehicle industry with several new partnerships just this month.
Yesterday, Ford Motor Co. announced it is working with Lyft to deploy Ford’s autonomous vehicles using the ride sharing service. Together, the companies plan to develop software that will connect the autonomous vehicles with Lyft’s mobile app. At this point, they haven’t sent an expected date for the first rides in self-driving cars.
In addition, Lyft plans to fund 400 scholarships for students signing up for the “Intro to Self-Driving Cars” course from micro-credential organization Udacity. The $800 “nanodegree” course gives students the skills needed to find a job in the industry. This follows a July announcement that Lyft plans to open a 50,000-square-foot facility in California where it will employ engineers to work on its own software and hardware for self-driving vehicles.
“What we’re also doing now is creating the software and hardware to enable a car to be autonomous,” chief strategy officer Raj Kapoor said during a briefing. “We’re going to be creating that technology, developing that technology, and then working with partners in the auto industry who are going to be creating the vehicles, bringing the two together, and also putting those on the Lyft network.”
Lastly, Lyft also partnered with Drive.ai in early September, allowing Drive.ai to access its open platform where car and self-driving system manufacturers can access information from rides taken on Lyft. The data allows manufacturers to test and develop technology based on real-life scenarios.
“As we work toward this not-so-distant future, Lyft will continue to partner with key players within the industry to build the world’s best transportation ecosystem, as well as safely introduce self-driving cars to our streets,” the press release said.
These new agreements add companies to Lyft’s growing list of partners — which already include General Motors, Waymo, NuTonomy and Jaguar Land Rover — aimed at furthering the self-driving car industry. And these efforts continue as competing ride hailing company Uber simultaneously boosts its own self-driving vehicle division to develop technology for the industry.
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