Lyft has been putting time and money into their self-driving program since 2017 when the Level 5 was created. A year ago, they submitted a report to the California Department of Motor Vehicles regarding their 2018 autonomous vehicle testing.
“Lyft Inc. did not operate any vehicles in autonomous mode on California public roads during the reporting period,” the letter stated. “As such, Lyft Inc. has no autonomous mode disengagements to report.”
The company continued testing autonomous vehicles in 2019 when they had a total of 19 self-driving cars on the streets of California. According to the data provided by the CA DMV, Lyft’s autonomous cars were tested on public roads in the period between December 2018 and November 2019.
A Race in a Competitive Field
While Lyft’s test vehicles did have a human driver behind the wheel to react in case of danger, their vehicles drove around completely autonomously. This achievement motivated Lyft to continue investing into autonomous vehicle research and software development.
It is evident that Lyft’s progress in this field is still below the numbers of established autonomous vehicle developers such as Waymo and Cruise with over two million autonomous miles between the two of them. The total number of miles driven by autonomous cars in 2019 increased by 40% to a total of 2.87 million.
Lyft’s autonomous vehicles drove nearly 43,000 miles in autonomous mode during 2019, which is a significant improvement and a confidence boost for the company. However, with plenty of miles to go, Lyft is planning to continue their software development and vehicle testing to catch up with some of the most popular AV developers.
An important part of Lyft’s journey in the autonomous driving industry was their partnership with Aptiv. The two companies worked together to combine Aptiv’s autonomous vehicles with Lyft’s network. The result of this partnership were over 100,000 rides in vehicles under autonomous driving mode.
However, these vehicles still had a driver behind the wheel to take over in case of critical situations and they didn’t operate autonomously on parking lots or around hotel lobby areas. Lyft is proud to present their Level 5 program, which has grown since its first launch in 2017.
The Level 5 autonomous driving program now employs over 400 people in the US, as well as in Munich and London. The company will continue developing and testing software on their dedicated closed-course track located in East Palo Alto. This track can be adjusted to different scenarios to test autonomous vehicles in multiple situations such as highways, crossroads, and traffic light stops.
Ilker is Co-founder of Botanalytics, conversational analytics company based in San Francisco. Having background of Computer Science & MBA. Ilker is a regular speaker about conversational analytics, artificial intelligence, and early-stage fundraising. He's also been selected to Forbes 30 Under 30, 2018 Enterprise Technology category. He likes to write about conversational AI, blockchain, tennis and rising startups from many different fields.