Not just a supplier: Delphi to start autonomous ride-sharing outfit

Delphi will launch pilot programs in both Europe and the US simultaneously.

Delphi

A supplier's job is to create hardware or software and sell it to automakers. But Delphi is about to do things a little differently, taking its self-driving systems and putting them to work in a separate ride-sharing scheme.

Delphi is set to announce two cities -- one in Europe, and one in the US -- that will serve as pilot programs for its upcoming autonomous ride-sharing service, Automotive News Europe reports. Boston, Pittsburgh, Paris and Luxembourg are apparently among the short-list candidates for this service, which doesn't yet have a name.

The car you usually see associated with Delphi is an Audi SQ5 crossover, but it will probably use different vehicles for its ride-sharing outfit.

Photo by Delphi

The supplier, which is hard at work on self-driving systems, will model its program after its first pilot in Singapore, where self-driving taxis will hustle riders to and from public transportation.

The Singapore pilot is set to start in 2017. Two years later, it will remove the person checking things out from the driver's seat, and the goal is to start the service in earnest in 2022. It's unclear how the US and European pilot programs will integrate into this timeline.

Delphi is no stranger to autonomous driving. It's working with a number of partners, most notably Mobileye and Intel, on developing self-driving systems for sale to automakers. Delphi has a big autonomous-driving test set for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, which it believes will be "automated driving's most complex, real-world demonstration."

Driverless cars are a hotly anticipated addition to ride-sharing fleets around the world. Computer systems don't need paychecks or benefits, and they can't sue anyone. It makes sense that Uber, Lyft and the whole gamut of ride-sharing companies would leap at the chance to offer driverless cars for riders. Delphi's probably very excited for this idea, as well, because it opens up a whole new market through which to cash in, be it through supplying its technology to others or starting its own commercial scheme.

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