Lyft says self-driving car safety will be built on trust

For Lyft, developing autonomous car technology isn't about cars at all, but rather the people they transport.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Lyft self-driving car test

Education is a top priority for companies working on self-driving car technology.


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.

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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.

Watch this: Uber and Lyft, similar but different