Published: Fri, March 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Lyft pushes self-driving vehicle plans into overdrive with new platform partnership

Lyft pushes self-driving vehicle plans into overdrive with new platform partnership

Lyft and Magna will jointly own intellectual property developed through the new venture and Magna will be Lyft's exclusive supplier of self-driving vehicle kits, Magna Chief Technology Officer Swamy Kotagiri said. In addition to helping fund the partnership, Magna has made a $200 million equity investment in Lyft, extending the ride-hailing company's most recent financing round to $1.7 billion.

The partnership will see the two jointly fund and develop autonomous vehicle systems for both Lyft and the broader automotive industry.

The two companies will share jointly created intellectual property and utilize Lyft data to improve systems.

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Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer, says Lyft needs auto industry expertise to manufacture autonomous vehicle components and eventually build the vehicles.

The alliance comes amid reports that Lyft is gaining ground on USA ride-share market leader Uber, which has seen its image dented by scandal and litigation.

"Together with Magna, we will accelerate the introduction of self-driving vehicles by sharing our technology with automotive OEMs worldwide", said Lyft CEO Logan Green.

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Lyft and Ford teamed up to test self-driving auto tech.

"There is a new mobility landscape emerging and partnerships like this put us at the forefront of this change", said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna chief technology officer.

Those kits - which are used to convert ordinary automobiles into self-driving cars - include cameras, radar and lidar systems that use light pulses to gauge a vehicle's position on and near the road. Lyft's own self-driving cars will join its ride-hailing fleet "in the coming years", while Magna will disperse the technologies throughout the automotive industry.

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Under the hood, the deal will see Lyft lead the codevelopment of the self-driving tech at its Palo Alto engineering center while Magna will lead the manufacturing side. They are also of the opinion that Lyft is concentrating immensely on the future of the self-driving technology.

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