The two firms initially announced their partnership back in 2017 and have now confirmed that in a handful of towns in the Phoenix area, customers will be able to select a ride in a Waymo self-driving car through Lyft’s app. Like Waymo’s own commercial ride-hailing service Waymo One, there will be safety drivers present behind the wheel at all times.
This partnership is very similar to Lyft’s previous collaboration with self-driving car startup Aptiv, where a small fleet of autonomous vehicles was made available to Lyft customers in the Las Vegas area.
This is the first time Waymo has made their vehicles available to riders not involved in their early rider program, and it signals a clear willingness to make their vehicles available to more people.
It is easy to make the assumption that this is somehow only a huge deal to Lyft. What is worth noting is that Alphabet’s (Waymo’s parent company) investing arm has previously led an investment round of $1 billion in Lyft. This new collaboration could also be a way for Waymo to access more of Lyft´s know-how and integrate their products in an already existing business (and brand) instead of having to build one up from scratch.
Written by Mahdere DW Amanuel, RISE Viktoria.