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Waymo, Lyft Partner to Bring Autonomous Vehicle Tech Into the Mainstream

The ride-hailing giant and tech behemoth are combining their powers with the ultimate goal of making their footprint the largest in the self-driving vehicle game.

by / May 16, 2017

The self-driving vehicle industry is still reverberating from news of a recent partnership between ride-hailing giant Lyft and the autonomous vehicle aficionados at Waymo, Google’s self-driving car spin-off.

The two Silicon Valley tech behemoths, according to The New York Times, each deliver what the other lacks. Although Waymo has logged over 3 million miles of automated driving and has arguably some of the most sophisticated self-driving technology, most of the testing was done in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. And while Lyft is still a relatively young company, it has a much greater understanding of where and how people move thank to its ridership database.

Also, both companies have previously entered into other partnerships, expanding their footprints in the market. Waymo recently offered free rides to the public in Arizona in their Chrysler minivans. Lyft received a $500 million investment from General Motors and has reportedly been outfitting Chevy Bolts with autonomous capabilities. GM acquired Cruise Automation in 2016 to help bolster its own self-driving vehicle knowledge.

Although neither company has made official statements about the partnership, sources within Lyft and Waymo have confirmed the report to multiple news outlets on the condition of anonymity.

The partnership's timing comes on the heels of a legal skirmish between Waymo and Uber. Waymo filed a lawsuit against the transportation network company for using trade secrets acquired when Anthony Levandowski hopped ship from Waymo to Uber in early 2016.

According to the federal judge who heard the case, there was “compelling evidence” that its “former star engineer [Levandowski]” stole more than 14,000 confidential files, in the ruling made public on Monday.

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