Lyft announced some big plans on Friday. The company said it is going to launch a new self-driving car division in Palo Alto, California where it will be creating its own self-driving team. The facility is scheduled to open in a few weeks.
This isn’t the first time the company is getting involved in the self-driving car space but it is the bigget move. The ride hailing service company has already signed deals with huge players like Alphabet’s Waymo, nuTonomy, and GM, and has relied on partnerships to be in the space.
The new launch will be a part of what the company is calling its “Open Platform Initiative.”
“Lyft is also uniquely positioned to build technology in collaboration with partners in a way that will make it possible to roll out self-driving cars at scale in the fastest, safest, most efficient way,” remarked Luc Vincent, Lyft’s vice president of engineering.
“When a passenger requests a ride that a self-driving car can complete, we may send one to complete the trip. If that person needs to go somewhere self-driving cars are unable to navigate, or their needs call for a different level of service, they will have a driver,” Vincent wrote in a post published on Friday.
According to Lyft, by the end of 2018, the company will have “several hundred” working on self-driving technology at the facility.
“We look at this as an opportunity to take what we’re developing and give it to others,” said Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s chief strategy officer. “For self-driving to work as an industry, there has to be more sharing.”