Lyft taps Waymo for driverless robo-taxi rides in Phoenix

Lyft customers in Phoenix, Arizona, will soon be able to request a ride in a self-driving car.

The robo-taxi service has come out of Lyft’s partnership with Waymo, which itself has been offering paying passengers rides in its driverless cars — also in Phoenix — since the end of last year with its Waymo One service.

Over the next few months, Lyft will use 10 autonomous Waymo vehicles as part of its regular ridesharing service in Phoenix, with the possibility of adding more over time.

Lyft riders will be able to select one of Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans directly from the Lyft app, though their expected popularity and limited number mean that such a vehicle might not always be immediately available.

Waymo, which was spun out of Google’s self-driving program in 2016, said on Tuesday that with its own service, it’s now giving autonomous rides to around 1,000 a people a day, with folks in Phoenix using them “to commute to and from work, bring their kids to school, get to the grocery store, and even to avoid parking at trailheads before a big run.”

Waymo said that its work with Lyft should lead to an improved robo-taxi experience as it’ll be getting extra feedback from more riders. For Lyft, working with Waymo shows it’s serious about its plan to incorporate autonomous technology into its ridesharing service. It’s also an attempt to mark it out from Uber, which has been struggling with the development of its own autonomous vehicles following a fatal accident in 2018.

Lyft began its partnership with Waymo in 2017 with a view to launching precisely this kind of service. But it’s not the first time Lyft has offered rides in self-driving cars. At the start of 2018, the company teamed up with vehicle technology firm Aptiv in Las Vegas to launch what it claimed to be the first-ever commercial robo-taxi service.

In just a few days, Lyft completed 400 rides using its BMW-made autonomous cars. Digital Trends had an opportunity to take a trip in one.

Last May, the company expanded the Las Vegas service to 30 self-driving cars, and by January 2019 the vehicles had completed 30,000 autonomous rides, transporting paying Lyft customers to destinations around the city.

At the current time, Lyft’s autonomous taxi services include a human backup driver to ensure rides go smoothly, and also to deal with inquiries from riders.


It’s not easy being green. Why EVs have a long road to replace gas vehicles

Electric vehicles are all the rage right now, but are they really better than your average gas-powered car? We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, and whether or not they're ready for mass adoption.

Waymo at last fires up the self-driving smarts of the Jaguar I-Pace

A year after inking a deal with Jaguar to use its I-Pace crossover for its self-driving program, Waymo has started testing the electric vehicle in autonomous mode with a view to adding it to its driverless ridesharing service.

Florida allows autonomous cars to drive on its roads without human supervision

Florida governor Ron DeSantis passed a law that establishes a legal framework for self-driving cars to operate within the state. It allows car and tech companies to test self-driving cars without a human operator behind the wheel.

Volvo has created an autonomous truck that looks like a sports car

Volvo’s autonomous truck, called Vera, is about to start work at a Swedish port. The vehicle has a modest top speed of 25 mph and features a striking design that makes it look as if the usual cab has been swapped for a sports car.

Kia draws inspiration from Greek mythology to create a crossover for millennials

Kia will expand its global portfolio of crossovers and SUVs when it unveils a model named Seltos on June 20, 2019. Developed for milennials, the Seltos is a small, high-tech model named after the son of Hercules.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Don’t let the SUV bodies fool you, BMW’s X3 M and X4 M are bona fide M cars

BMW is launching the first M versions of its X3 and X4. The 2020 X3 M and X4 M Competition pack a new 503-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six and BMW’s usual array of performance tech.

After years of Le Mans misfortune, Toyota becomes impossible to beat

Toyota scored a one-two finish at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, its second win a row at the legendary French race. Toyota is the first Japanese automaker to win Le Mans twice, but its wins came without any real competition.

Uber drivers reportedly triggering higher fares through Surge Club

Uber drivers are reportedly participating in a so-called Surge Club to artificially trigger higher fares. Many drivers said that they do not want to join the shady practice, but they are forced to do so due to pay cuts.

Intel hates that your car is dumber than your phone. Here’s how they’ll fix it

Motorists are often underwhelmed and/or frustrated with their car's native infotainment system, so millions of them rely on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Intel is helping Google and Volvo change that by bringing phone-like tech to the…

Fisker wants to make sure Tesla’s Model Y isn’t in a class of one when it lands

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.

Could a high-performance Nissan Leaf steal the mighty GT-R’s lunch money?

Nissan developed the electric Leaf with range and practicality in mind, but the hatchback could lend its hardware to a high-performance flagship. One of Nissan's chief executives announced a four-motor, 850-hp model could arrive during the…

Forget turrets. Hummer could fight its next war in the electric SUV segment

General Motors is considering resurrecting the Hummer brand it axed in 2010 to make electric off-roaders. The plan hasn't been approved yet, and it risks alienating some die-hard Hummer fans, but it makes sense on several levels.

This futuristic driverless pod will soon be delivering pizza in Texas

Pizza delivery using driverless pods is about to become a thing. Domino's has partnered with autonomous-tech specialist Nuro to use the futuristic pods for a trial delivery service starting later this year.