Boston, Massachusetts-based nuTonomy made headlines in August 2016 following the launch of the world’s first self-driving taxi service.
Although limited to a few streets in Singapore, nuTonomy’s fleet of self-driving cars, all prototypes requiring a driving behind the wheel in case of an emergency, provided an early look at a likely future where self-driving cars will run around town offering rides.
Ride-sharing firm Lyft, which is already partnered with General Motors and Waymo when it comes to self-driving cars, is now also partnering with nuTonomy.
Lyft and nuTonomy logos
In a statement, Lyft and nuTonomy said the goal of their partnership is to understand and optimize the user experience of a self-driving taxi service. The collaborative effort will take place in Boston where nuTonomy has been testing self-driving cars since the start of 2017.
The researchers will look at all aspects of ensuring a passenger’s comfort and safety during a trip in a self-driving car—from routing and booking to the performance of the driving system and how it interacts and communicates with the passenger(s).
nuTonomy says it plans to launch a large-scale self-driving taxi service in Singapore as early as 2018.
nuTonomy autonomous Renault Zoe
Separately, Jaguar Land Rover has said it has invested $25 million in Lyft and plans to work closely with the ride-sharing firm in the area of self-driving cars. As part of the deal, Jaguar Land Rover will provide vehicles to Lyft for testing.
In 2016, GM invested $500 million in Lyft as part of an effort to jointly develop a self-driving taxi service.
The news comes as rival ride-sharing firm Uber, which is also developing self-driving technology, comes under fire for numerous reasons ranging from intellectual property theft allegations to claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. The company also continues to hemorrhage funds as well as top staff, including even CEO Travis Kalanick who has just taken a leave of absence.