As Lyft puts it, a "diverse set of real-life scenarios helps partners develop their systems around actual experiences and behaviors".
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Rideshare company Lyft has revealed that it will be opening its own self-driving vehicle facility in Palo Alto, California, while also developing its own autonomous auto technology.
Lyft plans to open the center, dubbed "Level 5" after the term for fully autonomous driving, within the next few weeks. The division will oversee Lyft's development of self-driving software. Carmakers are inching towards building cars that really do drive themselves. While that happens, Lyft thinks its contracted human drivers will initially benefit from autonomous cars: "We believe that in the first five or more years following the introduction of autonomous vehicles, the need for human drivers will actually increase, not decrease", wrote Lyft cofounder John Zimmer on Medium last year. Lyft engineers will collaborate there with autonomous vehicle experts from other companies to build self-driving systems.
Lyft has no plans to manufacture its own robot cars.
Lyft has announced plans to develop its own self-driving vehicle capabilities so it can begin offering autonomous rides by the end of the year in some locations.
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Lyft's cice president of engineering Luc Vincent pointed out that partnerships, also, will make the entire process of bringing autonomous vehicles to market more cost-effective, because you're sharing "lots of off-the-shelf equipment [and] lots of building blocks of software".
"We're very excited to see the autonomous-vehicle technology's ability to reduce vehicle-miles traveled and the comfort people will have in getting rid of their cars", he said.
The company is promising always to use a "hybrid network" in which drivers are on hand to assist the robot vehicles - noting that this is going to remain necessary indefinitely in numerous 350 cities worldwide where Lyft operates and where detailed maps are not available.
Lyft's focus on finding a balance was also apparent with how it was going to work with its partners.
The ride-hailing company said Friday it will introduce driverless cars to its Beantown fleet later this year - before expanding the program to other cities.