Until now, Lyft was highly viewed as an alternative to ride option for Uber. Now with their new announcement, the on-demand car service takes steps to become a serious contender for autonomous vehicle throne.

These steps include forming a business division with hundreds of Silicon Valley engineers who will be employed exclusively for the development of autonomous vehicle hardware and software.

Lyft’s chief strategy officer had this to say, "We want to take a proactive role into pushing the industry into a more open environment," said Raj Kapoor, Lyft's chief strategy officer, at a media event this week. "The only way to do that is to go deeper and to develop these technologies."

"What we're doing now is creating the software and hardware to enable a car to be autonomous," said Kapoor. "We're going to be creating that technology, and then working with partners in the auto industry who are going to be creating the vehicles, bringing the two together, and also putting those on the Lyft network."

Lyft plans continue working with partners, Waymo, NuTonomy and General Motors to develop and entire network of on-demand autonomous vehicles.

Lyft announced last year that G.M. invested $500 million which is half of its venture funding round. Furthermore, in April, Lyft closed on $600 million in fresh funding, at a $7.5 billion valuation.
The nearest competition for Lyft is Uber is which has a value of around $50 billion.


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