Like several other shuttle services, Lyft is quickly moving into the self-driving car arena with a new partnership aimed at preventing car wrecks.
The ride-share company has partnered with autonomous vehicles manufacturer Motional to expand driverless rides in the Los Angeles area. Lyft is even allowing L.A. riders to request AV pickups. Motional will lend several of its all-electric IONIQ 5 AVs to Lyft. The model stands out amongst its driverless competitors, having been driven millions of miles across various terrains with no at-fault accidents.
“Scaling AVs only works if riders can get a reliable ride, whether it’s autonomous or not, and together with Motional, Lyft will turn AV technology into transportation for Angelenos everywhere,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said in a statement.
Lyft and Motional handcrafted the program for Los Angeles in an effort to combat the infamous traffic issues that cause car crashes and hours-long traffic jams on a nearly daily basis. The partnership is also collaborating with local officials and organizations to determine AV’s full potential for decreasing traffic.
While this new move may bring about positive change to traffic, the implementation of driverless vehicles poses a serious threat to the livelihood of ride-share and cab drivers. Demand for taxi drivers could see a nearly 20% dip as many are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before 2020, cab companies were going out of business due to the popularity of ride-sharing. Partnerships with Uber in large cities such as NYC have lent a helping hand to the taxi industry, though they are not out of the dark yet. Now, with autonomous vehicles posing a risk to both, a career as a driver may prove less lucrative in the near future.