Waymo and Uber are currently in the midst of a heated legal battle. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that Waymo is pursuing a relationship with Uber's chief competitor.
Waymo, which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has signed a deal with Lyft. The two companies will work together to develop and implement autonomous-car technology, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
"We're looking forward to working with Lyft to explore new self-driving products that will make our roads safer and transportation more accessible," a Waymo spokesperson said via email. "Lyft's vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo's self-driving technology reach more people, in more places."
Lyft also confirmed the partnership, but had nothing more to add.
While the partnership itself has been made public, the details remain in the shadows. It's unclear what role Lyft will play, whether it's installing Waymo's technology on its own vehicles or something else. Lyft already has a similar agreement in place with General Motors, one of Lyft's most prominent investors, that involves GM's autonomous .
This will surely become a sore point for Uber because while the ride-hailing giant is well ahead of Lyft, the two companies remain the major players in that industry. If there were ever a good time to stick a knife in Uber and give it a good ol' twist, it'd be right now because Uber and Waymo are currently fighting it out in court regarding allegedly stolen trade secrets.
Waymo's technology is slowly moving beyond the development phase. After years of work and millions of miles driven under the auspices of Google, Waymo has finally opened up a pilot program that will see the public making use of Waymo's self-driving . Even though there will be an engineer in the driver's seat just in case, this move shows that Waymo believes its tech is just about ready for the big time.
It seems like every week brings a new partnership when it comes to autonomous cars, and trying to draw a map of all these connections will result in some sort of Pepe Silvia-style madness. Even though GM and Lyft are close, Waymo relies on Fiat Chrysler, a major GM competitor, to supply its fleet. GM is also developing its own autonomous tech through Cruise Automation, a company it acquired last year. The interconnections run deep, even if each individual company may have its own end results in mind.