By Rachel Dovey.
Lyft users in the Bay Area will soon have the option of being shuttled around in self-driving cars. The ride-sharing company trails its main competitor, Uber, in the autonomous vehicle game, but Lyft will be the only one of the two operating the technology in the Bay Area for the time being, since Uber’s self-driving program was slapped with a cease-and-desist by the state of California last year. The pilot will allow Lyft to see how riders react to self-driving cars.
The cars offered by Lyft will come from Drive.ai, a Mountain View-based startup that builds autonomous vehicle software, according to Reuters. The rollout will be small at first, and each car will come with a trained driver in the front seat in case something goes awry. Passengers must opt into the program, but once they do, rides will be free.
Other U.S. cities that have opened their arms to self-driving cars in general (and Uber in particular) include Pittsburgh and Tempe, Arizona. Austin, Portland and Sacramento are also making strides to welcome the technology — in a series of one-upping bids that feels a bit like online dating.