Ridesharing company Lyft and self-driving car startup Aptiv want to make sure that blind or visually impaired people can still get where they need to go.
Both companies said this week they have partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to provide rides to blind or visually impaired people. The partnership will ensure transportation is available to those who can't hail a ridesharing vehicle as easily. The new initiative will also build on the 50,000 rides Lyft and Aptiv have given to blind riders around Las Vegas with prototype, self-driving vehicles.
Lyft said the commitment is also part of making the public more aware of blind persons' rights and underscore the need for smart public policy. In many cities and states, transportation options can be few and far between for some with disabilities.
In addition to providing transportation, Lyft and Aptiv worked with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired to concoct new braille guides for vehicles. The diagrams will be printed in Aptiv self-driving vehicles and provide a map for the self-driving car's route and a description of the vehicle's layout.
The work with Aptiv is Lyft's second foray into adding self-driving cars to its fleet.
Earlier this year, Lyft said riders will be able to summon Waymo self-driving cars as the company continues testing its autonomous vehicles. The program will only be available in Phoenix and will act as a supplement to Waymo's own Waymo One ridesharing service. The Alphabet-owned subsidiary is the first to launch a self-driving car ridesharing platform. However, it's not yet open to the public. However, any Lyft user is able to hail a self-driving Waymo vehicle.