Drive.ai and Lyft have announced a partnership to test self-driving cars in the San Francisco Bay Area. The trial will look into how Lyft can optimize the passenger experience, and expand Drive.ai’s technical capabilities with thousands of autonomous miles.
“We’re committed to improving people’s lives with the world’s best transportation,” said Taggart Matthiesen, senior director of product of Lyft. “We’re thrilled to partner with Drive.ai to pilot self-driving cars in the Bay Area, and together help shape the future of transportation and ultimately the future of our communities.”
Drive.ai is looking to “develop a roadmap for broader commercialization” during the trial. The startup is currently building a retrofit kit, making the deployment of a self-driving system much cheaper for automakers or taxi services.
Still someone in driver’s seat
Like all tests in California, an engineer will be inside the Drive.ai vehicle at all times, to take over when necessary.
“Self-driving cars have the potential to save lives, reshape cities, and dramatically benefit the environment. Pilot programs like this are vital to build awareness and familiarity with autonomous vehicle technology, and Drive.ai is committed to working with great businesses like Lyft in order to do so,” said Drive.ai CEO Sameep Tandon.
Lyft has seen its market share rise over the past few months in the U.S., as Uber struggles to move past a series of setbacks. The second largest ride-sharing company holds between 20 and 30 percent of the market, peaking at 40 percent in San Francisco, according to data from The Information.
That growth in market share may have pushed Lyft to become more focused on self-driving. Before 2017, it looked likely that Lyft would work exclusively with General Motors, at one point the two companies even discussed an acquisition.