The timing of the partnership couldnt be worse for Uber, which finds itself in a heated battle against both companies, while it fends off a seemingly endless string of controversy, including allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Tensionsbetween Uber and Lyft are at all-time highs after it was revealed Uber was using its Hell program to trackLyft drivers. While Lyft and Uber duke it out on the streets, Waymo battles CEO Travis Kalanicks company in the courtroom. The self-driving spinoff of Googles parent company filed a lawsuit against Uber for stealing intellectual property. It claims one of its former employees, Anthony Lewandowski, downloaded 14,000 files from Waymo just a month before starting his own company, Otto, which was purchased by Uber six months later.
Lyft and Uber will now team up and work together on product development and pilot projects for self-driving vehicles, according to a report from the New York Times. Both companies confirmed the partnership Sunday.
Waymo holds todays best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the worlds best transportation, a Lyft spokesperson told theTimes.
Lyfts vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymos self-driving technology reach more people, in more places,” Waymo said in a statement.
Uber is racing to become the first company to bring self-driving cars to the public. Kalanick said bringing autonomous technology to its vehicles is existential to the companys future. It put hundreds of millions of dollars into a self-driving testing facility in Pittsburgh last year, and also partnered with Volvo to expand its semi-autonomous technology.
What would happen if we werent a part of that future? If we werent part of the autonomy thing? Then the future passes us by, basically, in a very expeditious and efficient way,Kalanick musedin an interview last year.
Unlike Uber, Lyft does not plan on developing its own autonomous vehicles. It will leverage several partnerships to enter into what some experts believe will become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Last year Lyft partnered with GM to test its fully electric Bolt vehicle on the public. Waymo is also partnering with other companies. It announced a collaboration with Fiat Chrysler to create a fully self-driving minivan, which it showed off at the Detroit Auto Showearlier this year.
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