Lyft will finally develop its own self-driving cars

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That'll include computer vision algorithms, mapping AI, and all of the various systems for pulling together inputs from a range of sensors.

Rideshare company Lyft has revealed that it will be opening its own self-driving vehicle facility in Palo Alto, California, while also developing its own autonomous auto technology.

"You can't just leave [self-driving technology] in the hands of others, especially when you have talent and assets that could actually help", Raj Kapoor, chief strategy officer at Lyft, told reporters in a briefing Thursday.

As with other companies that have been publicly testing self-driving cars, Lyft riders who participate in the program will be accompanied by test drivers sitting in the front seats of the vehicles.

The company, which will not be manufacturing the actual cars, offered no time line for its self-driving ambitions. But Lyft now seems to be setting expectations that the transition to self-driving could be a lengthy one, cautioning that there are numerous circumstances - rain, construction, traffic and nighttime - that could faze autonomous cars.

Unlike Uber and Google's Waymo, Lyft won't be attempting to build its own autonomous cars.

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The company expects there to be "several hundred" working on self-driving technology at its Palo Alto facility, which is set to open in a few weeks, by the end of 2018.

The San Francisco-based company says it will open its self-driving vehicle network, inviting automakers and tech companies to use it to haul passengers and gather data.

A rendering of the Palo Alto laboratory that Lyft's new self-driving division will soon call home.

For both Uber and Lyft, self-driving cars are a frontier crucial to their success.

Lyft's cice president of engineering Luc Vincent pointed out that partnerships, also, will make the entire process of bringing autonomous vehicles to market more cost-effective, because you're sharing "lots of off-the-shelf equipment [and] lots of building blocks of software". "We're on our way to creating a self-driving system".

TechCrunch notes that Lyft's strategy may help it more smoothly navigate the rough regulatory waters that are facing autonomous vehicles in the years ahead. Uber is facing a protracted trade secrets suit brought by Waymo that alleges that Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 proprietary files while he worked at Alphabet's self-driving vehicle company.

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