One of the hottest races going on in the tech world right now is the race to get self-driving cars out to the public first. To try and beat out the competition, Waymo has reached an agreement with Lyft, the startup ride-hailing company, to get its street legal autonomous cars out first.
Lyft And Waymo Team Up
The New York Times reported that the two companies reached an agreement to share tech assets and programs in developing Waymo's self-driving cars, while Lyft would offer a ground-level deployment of these vehicles in cities that use the service.
This is just one of many deals between tech and car companies in this arms race that has exploded in Silicon Valley over the last few years. This is big, though, as both companies are major competitors to Uber, which has been the dominant company in the growing business of ride-hailing.
"Waymo holds today's best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation," a spokeswoman for Lyft said to the New York Times.
Lyft is the more direct competitor to Uber, trying to carve out its own section of the business for itself, focusing on more urban areas where many people don't use cars. Waymo, on the other hand, is a competitor to Uber's internal autonomous car programs, since the company is working first hand to develop its own programs in that space.
The Newest Of Many Deals
As mentioned, deals of this nature are becoming more commonplace among car and tech companies looking to gain a foothold in the space. Lyft had a series of deals in place before this, the most prominent being a deal with General Motors to help test a new wave of Chevrolet Volts that would be some of the first street legal cars to use self-driving tech in the near future.
Waymo, on the other hand, has teamed up with other car manufacturers that are interested in its program, namely Fiat Chrysler, that wish to use Waymo's tech into a wave of new minivans. Honda is also said to be interested in a deal, wanting to use Waymo in a series of test cars.
While the deal is big for Lyft, which is looking to expand and become more of a competitor to Uber, it may be bigger for Waymo. Signing this kind of deal could be a sign that Waymo is confident in its program and is ready for it to be released commercially.
For Waymo, teaming with Lyft could be a way of going after Uber in a more direct manner as well. Earlier this year, Waymo accused Uber of using stolen tech to kick-start its autonomous car program after Uber acquired Otto, another self-driving car company, that was founded by a former Google employee.
While the case has been ongoing, Waymo's deal with Lyft would serve as a metaphorical stick-it to Uber over the suspected theft. It also serves to speed up the availability of Waymo's program while the lawsuit looks to slow down Uber's own research.