Magna is purchasing a $200 million equity stake in ride-sharing behemoth Lyft as part of a multi-year plan to develop a self-driving vehicle platform together.
The collaboration calls for the two companies to jointly fund, develop and manufacture self-driving systems. The establishment of this partnership subject to regulatory approval. This partnership positions Magna and Lyft to enable the development and manufacturing of self-driving systems at scale.
In addition to self-driving vehicles that will be deployed on Lyft’s own ride-sharing network in the coming years, Magna can deploy the technologies across a wide range of uses to benefit the entire global mobility ecosystem.
“There is a new mobility landscape emerging and partnerships like this put us at the forefront of this change,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna chief technology officer. “Lyft’s leadership in ridesharing and Magna’s automotive expertise makes this strategic partnership ideal to effect a positive change as a new transportation ecosystem unfolds.”
(California okays testing of completely driverless vehicles. Click Here for the story.)
Lyft CEO Logan Green echoed Kotagiri’s sentiments.
“Together with Magna, we will accelerate the introduction of self-driving vehicles by sharing our technology with automotive OEMs worldwide,” he said. “This is an entirely new approach that will democratize access to this transformative technology.”
Lyft will lead the co-development of the self-driving system at its Palo Alto, California-based self-driving engineering center. Magna engineers will lead manufacturing and join Lyft’s development team onsite, contributing their vehicle systems knowledge, safety and ADAS expertise, and manufacturing capabilities
The two companies will share jointly created intellectual property and utilize Lyft data to improve systems. Lyft will utilize Magna’s automotive experience for its fleet’s self-driving systems
(Click Here to see more about the predicted drop in ride-share costs due to autonomous vehicles.)
Green told reporters the partnership will help them get their self-driving tech into various automaker vehicles around the world. Lyft will be working directly with Magna on “co-developing” an autonomous driving system, with collaborative teams from both companies working on the project, according to the web site Tech Crunch.
Green said Lyft’s goal has been to “improve how transportation works” from the very beginning, citing a childhood growing up in traffic, trying to figure out how to avoid traffic, as a motivating factor. He also noted that it’s “wildly expensive” for individuals to own and operate their vehicles.
Overall, ridesharing makes up just 0.5% of all miles traveled, and Lyft’s goal is to move that to more than 80%, Green said.
Lyft and Magna are not sharing any info with regards to a timeline for when we might see the results of this partnership put into practice, in testing or in production, but Magna noted in a press release detailing the news that it should be “market-ready over the next few years” if all goes to plan.
(To see more about the bill the House passed on autonomous vehicles, Click Here.)
As for Lyft’s own efforts with developing autonomous vehicle systems thus far, the company said it is already testing vehicles at the GoMentum autonomous vehicles proving ground in California, just five months after making its autonomous engineering efforts official.