Lyft users in the Phoenix area may soon be able to hail a self-driving car from Google's Waymo division directly from the ride-sharing service's smartphone app. The two firms announced a new partnership on Tuesday that will see Waymo autonomous vehicles deployed as part of the Lyft network.
The addition of Waymo self-driving cars to the Lyft network will supplement the Waymo One ride-hailing service. Pre-screened users can to call for a self-driving vehicle as part of Waymo's service, which is the first paid autonomous shuttle U.S. It is not, however, open to the public, while hailing a Waymo self-driving van from the Lyft app will be open to any of the ride-sharing service's users.
The companies will start with 10 self-driving cars to start. From there, Lyft users in the Metro Phoenix area will be able to summon the self-driving car for their ride. However, Waymo said the vehicles will only be available for rides in geo-fenced areas. The vans still have a human backup driver sitting behind a conventional steering wheel.
For Waymo, it gives the company an opportunity to introduce its technology to new riders and gather more feedback in the pursuit to be first to market with a completely self-driving vehicle. At Lyft, the company gains access to the company considered the leader in the segment currently.