Self-Driving Cars Will Start Picking Up Passengers In San Francisco
A partnership between Lyft and Drive-ai, a self-driving car startup, hopes to bring autonomous rides to passengers in San Francisco
Self-driving Lyft cars are set to start picking up passengers in San Francisco with its new pilot program, launched in partnership with Drive.ai. AI-driven cars will hit the road with Lyft’s open platform. Lyft will connect passengers to Drive.ai’s fleet of vehicles, which will be operated by trained safety drivers, who can take over the driving if needed and ensure that passengers arrive safely.
Lyft riders can choose to opt out of autonomous rides on the app. Drive.ai has been testing out its self-driving technology on public roads in California since last year, but this is the first time the public will be able to ride in one of its cars.
The startup’s self-driving technology is designed with retrofit kits, to be used for multiple vehicle types, though the San Francisco pilot will launch with a sedan. The company has a diverse set of vehicles planned for the program in future tests. Drive.ai hopes to continue improvements on its autonomous system with the pilot, while Lyft wants to collect data to help improve passenger experience in self-driving cars.
Last year, Uber launched self-driving cars on the streets of San Francisco, but the program was quickly halted by the DMV because the company failed to adhere to California’s self-driving laws. Meanwhile, Lyft co-lfounder John Zimmer hopes that “within five years a fully autonomous fleet of cars will provide the majority of Lyft rides across the country.” The company currently has self-driving partnerships with General Motors, Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover.