Lyft announces its own fleet of driverless cars

Lyft operates in 350 cities in the US and plans to run its own self-driving cars on the network

Ten percent of its software engineers are working on autonomous vehicles now, Lyft said.

Also unlike Uber, Lyft is being careful not to write drivers out of the equation. Lyft will still need to hire that top talent, build out its engineering team and work out how to share data with each vehicle manufacturer it partners with.

The executives said the company would soon open a facility in Palo Alto, California, that would eventually be staffed by "several hundred" engineers.

"We look at this as an opportunity to take what we're developing and give it to others", said Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer.

As Uber implodes spectacularly, ride-hailing company Lyft is again following its biggest competitor's footsteps, this time diving headfirst into a massive autonomous vehicle project that could someday send its human drivers off to some other corner of the godforsaken sharing economy. The building Lyft refers to as "Level 5" will be developing its new "open self-driving platform" and a combination hardware and software system still in development Lyft hopes auto manufacturers will use to bring autonomous cars to its ride-hailing network.

Despite Uber's venture into autonomous cars set a negative tone after facing suspension and a major lawsuit, another ridesharing service is taking a crack at driverless driving. As the Chron notes, recently deposed CEO Travis Kalanick once infamously bragged that the company's self-driving vehicles would allow him to stop having to pay "the dude" in the driver's seat.

The decision follows the company's plan to move forward from its regular partnerships in the self-driving field and instead enter the market with its own technology. "Some people prefer to have a human driver; in the short run there will be instances that self-driving cars can't handle".

As technology evolves, we'll face a hybrid ecosystem of both human-driven and autonomous vehicles.

Lyft's focus on finding a balance was also apparent with how it was going to work with its partners.

Partnering with an existing automaker or technology firm with advanced knowledge of autonomous driving systems seems like the safest and least expensive route - at least, in the short-term.

Lyft is betting the future of the road centers on sharing autonomous vehicles.

Uber had the lead on ride-hailing and self-driving cars for a while, but it's encountered some roadblocks.

However, Lyft employs a team to work on regulatory matters and has made in-roads in Washington for other issues in the past.

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