The fastest-growing rideshare platform in the USA, Lyft, has formed a strategic R&D partnership with nuTonomy, a leading developer of software for self-driving cars, which will be focused on understanding and optimizing the end-to-end experience of autonomous vehicle (AV) passengers.
Under the partnership, nuTonomy and Lyft will align their respective technology platforms to gather valuable research and insights into all aspects of ensuring a passenger’s comfort and safety during an AV ride, from routing and booking, to the performance of the driving system and how it interacts and communicates with the rider.
The collaborative R&D effort will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, where nuTonomy has been testing its self-driving electric cars since the beginning of the year. The tests are being conducted in the city’s Raymond L Flynn Marine Park and the adjacent Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods. An engineer from nuTonomy rides in each of its vehicles during testing to observe system performance and assume control if needed.
Through its testing program in Boston, nuTonomy is building on the knowledge it has gained from the road tests and public trials it has been conducting in Singapore’s One-North business district since last August. The company plans to launch its self-driving mobility-on-demand service in Singapore in 2018. Following the initial phase of this partnership, Lyft and nuTonomy will consider expanding it in ways that will yield additional learning and data about the ideal function, performance, and features, of an autonomous mobility-on-demand service that could be deployed in cities to tackle the difficult challenge of urban driving.
“By combining forces with Lyft in the USA, we’ll be positioned to build the best passenger experience for self-driving cars,” explained Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy. “Both companies care immensely about solving urban transportation issues and the future of our cities, and we look forward to working with Lyft as we continue to improve our autonomous vehicle software system.”
Logan Green, CEO and co-founder of Lyft, commented, “At Lyft, we imagine a world where car ownership is optional and cities are designed for people instead of cars. Partnering with nuTonomy is an important step toward making this vision a reality. The nuTonomy team is one of the first movers in autonomous vehicle development, and we look forward to working with them to bring their autonomous vehicles to the Lyft network.”