Some riders will start using Lyft’s self-driving taxis within a year

lyft self driving cars california glowstache
Lyft’s plan to launch a fleet of self-driving taxis stepped up a gear this week with the announcement that it wants to start tests on public roads – with regular riders – within a year.

The news comes four months after GM invested $500 million in the ride-hailing service in what the companies said will be a “long-term strategic alliance.” The car maker will be supplying its soon-to-launch Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle for the self-driving tests when they begin in a yet-to-be-named U.S. city in the next 12 months.

The autonomous technology will come from San Francisco firm Cruise Automation Inc., which GM acquired earlier this year for $1 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Regular Lyft riders will be able to hail the driverless cars, though the app will also allow cautious types to opt out of the trial and hail a car with a driver instead. But should you go for the driverless option, don’t expect to find an empty driving seat when you climb in. Early tests will have an engineer in the vehicle, monitoring the car’s performance and ready to step in should the car pull an unexpected move.

Lyft product director Taggart Matthiesen told the Journal the company plans to “vet the autonomous tech between Cruise, GM and ourselves and slowly introduce this into markets,” explaining this would “ensure that cities would have full understanding of what we are trying to do.”

GM’s partnership with Lyft also involves the creation of short-term vehicle rental hubs for wannabe Lyft drivers. In March the automaker launched a scheme offering Lyft drivers in Chicago free rental cars provided they make enough trips through their work.

The self-driving efforts by Lyft and GM take the battle to Google, ride-hailing rival Uber, and a slew of other companies exploring the sector. Uber, which opened a self-driving research center in Pittsburgh just over a year ago, aims to add driverless cars to its fleet by 2020, though Lyft’s plan to start tests within a year could cause the company to speed up its efforts.


Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 proves the General Motors luxury brand still cares about sedans. Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it features Cadillac's Super Cruise tech and a lineup of turbocharged engines.

Lyft pulls thousands of ebikes from three U.S. cities over safety issue

A brake problem affecting 3,000 electric bikes operated by Lyft-owned Citi Bike, Capital Bikeshare, and Ford GoBike has prompted the company to take the two-wheelers out of service until the issue is resolved.

Mercedes-Benz gives the tech-savvy 2020 CLA more power at New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLA during CES 2019, and it will expand the lineup when it unveils a midrange model named CLA 35 at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.

Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.