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Car Tech

Lyft rolls its self-driving cars onto new testing track

Aiming to claim a place in the self-driving car race, the ride-hailing company partners with the country's largest autonomous vehicle testing facility.

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Lyft is developing self-driving car technology at its Silicon Valley engineering facility called Level 5.

Lyft

Lyft is doubling down on its self-driving car program.

The ride-hailing company announced Thursday that it's partnered with GoMentum Station, which is a largest secure testing facility for autonomous vehicles in the country. Lyft said the partnership means it can speed up its timeline to bring its cars to the public.

"At Lyft, we believe in a future where self-driving cars make transportation safer and more accessible to everyone," Luc Vincent, Lyft's vice president of engineering, said in a statement. "By partnering with GoMentum Station, we're able to test our self-driving systems in a secure facility and advance our technology in an efficient way."

Lyft is a bit late to the self-driving game. Its rival Uber has been working on its own autonomous vehicles for more than two years and has its own testing facility in Pittsburgh. Other technology and auto industry giants, like Google, Apple, Tesla, Ford, Honda and BMW, have also launched driverless car projects of their own.

But Lyft seems determined to catch up. It's partnered with several companies working on self-driving car tech, such as Nutonomy, Ford, General Motors, Drive.ai and Waymo (Google's self-driving spin-off). It's also opened its own hardware and software engineering facility in Silicon Valley dedicated to autonomous vehicle development, called Level 5.

The partnership with GoMentum Station could take Lyft one step further. The former naval weapons station is now a 5,000-acre proving ground for autonomous vehicles in Concord, Calif. It's managed by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

"We are incredibly proud to be partnering with Lyft," said Randy Iwasaki, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority. "Because we know their presence at GoMentum Station will help facilitate more mobility options for Contra Costa's residents in the future."

Lyft didn't give any specifics on the kind of vehicles it's testing, but did say they were developed at Level 5.

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