For Lyft, developing autonomous car technology isn't about cars at all, but rather the people they transport.
Lyft on Monday published what it calls a Voluntary Safety Self-Assessment to provide insight into how the ride-sharing company approaches potentially revolutionary technology like self-driving cars . At the end of the day, Lyft says safety will only happen when riders actually trust the technology.
The company said it will work to earn trust in its future self-driving car technology even before a rider steps into a future autonomous car with pre-ride and in-app education. Riders in the future will also have support available 24/7 surrounding the technology.
If prior research provides any indication, Lyft and so many other companies have a long way to go to produce any sort of acceptance. In JD Power's latest survey surrounding self-driving cars, confidence actually fell year-over-year among Americans. In a separate survey from the Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, three out of four Americans said the technology isn't ready for primetime.
Education is certainly a massive part of acceptance, but indeed, there are no self-driving vehicles ready for sale today, nor will there be any tomorrow.
Lyft also underscored it continues to operate all self-driving car tests with a human operator and a human copilot to keep safety at the forefront. Testing came under fire years ago when an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian. The human test driver wasn't paying attention at the time and the company did not have a copilot onboard.
In this respect, Lyft says it will continue to test in a conservative fashion with closed course tests and simulations part of its program.
The company joins numerous other competitors vying for a slice of a projected market ripe for profit in the future. Waymo, General Motors, Ford, Toyota and countless startups all continue to test their own self-driving technology.