May 18, 2017
Lift hailing app, Lyft has forged a new partnership with autonomous vehicle developers Waymo. The Alphabet Inc., owned company has confirmed the deal. The New York Times was the first to report the news.
Waymo which started testing its vehicles on public roads in 3 states, just started its public pilot program in Phoenix, Arizona. It picks people up and drops them to their destination. The new partnership has certain amount of significance as it shows that Waymo is far closer to commercializing the self driving service than anybody thought.
Lyft is one of America's popular ride hailing services. Although a distant second to Uber, they have shown a lot of interest in self driving technology and were in talks with GM last year. GM is developing its own fleet of autonomous cars with Cruise, the autonomous driving technology company it acquired at its centre.
“Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” Lyft wrote in an emailed statement.
This comes as the most recent in a long line of bad news for Uber who are in the midst of a lawsuit with Waymo. Accused of using Waymo's trade secrets to manufacture the self driving car, it is request to handle the dispute in arbitration was denied by a judge recently, who also called for investigations on the Uber executives connected to the case. Although Alphabet's investors still consider Uber an investment, recent tension have had noticeable effects on the ties with Alphabet's Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond stepped down from Uber's board last year.
Uber has tied up with Mercedes parent company Daimler to manufacture the cars, Google has finalized a deal with Chrysler and is in talks with Honda.
The details of the deal are not yet clear, as both Waymo and Lyft have refused to disclose it as of yet, but one thing is clear, Waymo just took a huge stride in the self driving game and it could mean all the difference in the world for Uber.