Lyft has landed another partner in its quest to get self-driving cars on the road: Magna. The automotive supplier is the latest company to join Lyft, with a growing list that includes Waymo, Ford, Drive.ai and NuTonomy.
GM invested $500 million in Lyft back in January 2016.
Magna has committed to invest $200 million as part of the deal. The companies will work together to develop an autonomous-driving system that is capable of being manufactured at scale.
The two companies hope to have the system ready for production in the “next few years.”
Lyft will lead the development work at its self-driving car engineering center. It will also supply data from its drivers and users. Magna will provide its manufacturing expertise to speed up production of the system.
“We don’t want just one or two companies in the world to access self-driving technology,” said Lyft CEO Logan Green. “We want every OEM to be able to access the technology and be able to use the Lyft network.”
Green says automakers who use the platform will be under no obligation to use Lyft’s ride-hailing network.
Lyft is taking a two-prong approach to self-driving technology. First, it is providing an open platform for automotive manufacturers to deploy their own driverless vehicles for ride-sharing. It’s also building its own autonomous driving technology.
Magna will also supply Lyft with high-tech kits to transform vehicles into self-driving cars. However, the company will not manufacture cars for Lyft.
The kits include radar, cameras and lidar systems which use light pulses to determine a vehicle’s location on or near the road.
The new self-driving system is expected to be installed on some of Lyft’s fleet over the next few years.
Both Lyft and Uber are investing heavily in driverless vehicles, which may someday replace human drivers. For some, this could mean losing their source of income as well as any Lyft driver referral bonuses that come with being a driver for the ride-hailing service.
For Magna, revenues from the partnership are not expected to materialize in the short-term. But over the long-term, the company says the “potential for revenues across the entire industry is significant.”
The Lyft investment has already been included in the company’s outlook for 2018-2020.
Magna is working as part of a consortium that includes Intel, BMW and Mobileye to include their autonomous vehicle platform into vehicles.
Self-driving vehicles are projected to be a multibillion dollar industry, allowing companies to capitalize on the harvesting and monetizing of data from the advanced technologies and sensors built into the vehicles.
Leaders in the automaker, technology and ride-hailing industries are all vying to grab a piece of the driverless vehicles pie.
GM has plans to launch its own robotaxi service by the end of 2019. Ford aims to do the same by 2021. Both Ford and GM are testing self-driving vehicles in Miami and San Francisco.
Waymo has also announced that it is letting the public take rides in its driverless shuttles in the Phoenix area. Right now, the public pilot is limited to certain areas of the city, but the company hopes to expand its geofence as legislation and testing permits.