Lyft’s self-driving test vehicles are back on public roads in California – TechCrunch

Lyft’s self-driving car division has restarted testing on public roads in California, a number of months after pausing operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lyft’s Level 5 program stated Tuesday a few of its autonomous autos are again on the street in Palo Alto and at its closed take a look at monitor. The firm has not resumed a pilot program that offered rides to Lyft staff in Palo Alto.

The firm stated it’s following CDC pointers for private protecting gear and floor cleansing. It has additionally enacted a number of extra security steps to forestall the unfold of COVID. Each autonomous take a look at car is supplied with partitions to separate the 2 security operators inside, the corporate stated. The operators should put on face shields and undergo temperature checks. They’re additionally paired collectively for 2 weeks at a time.

Lyft’s Level 5 program — a nod to the SAE automated driving degree which means the car handles all driving in all situations — launched in July 2017 however didn’t beginning testing on California’s public roads till November 2018. Lyft then ramped up the testing program and its fleet. By late 2019, Lyft was driving 4 instances extra autonomous miles per quarter than it was six months prior.

Lyft had 19 autonomous autos testing on public roads in California in 2019, in keeping with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the first company that regulates AVs within the state. Those 19 autos, which operated in the course of the reporting interval of December 2018 to November 2019, drove almost 43,000 miles in autonomous mode, in keeping with Lyft’s annual report launched in February. While that’s a tiny determine when in comparison with different firms resembling Argo AI, Cruise and Waymo, it does signify progress inside the program.

Lyft has supplemented its on-road testing with simulation, a method that it relied on extra closely throughout COVID-related shutdowns. And it’s going to doubtless proceed to lean on simulation whilst native governments raise restrictions and the economic system reopens.

Simulation is an economical solution to create extra management, repeatability and security, according to a blog post launched Tuesday by Robert Morgan, director of engineering, and Sameer Qureshi, director of product administration at Level 5. The pair stated simulation has additionally allowed the Level 5 unit to check its work with out autos, with out staff leaving their desks and, for the previous couple of months, with out leaving their properties. Level 5 employs greater than 400 folks in London, Munich and the United States.

Using simulation within the growth of autonomous car expertise is a well-established software within the business. Lyft’s strategy to information — which it makes use of to enhance its simulations — is what differentiates the corporate from rivals. Lyft is utilizing data collected from drivers on its ride-hailing app to enhance simulation checks in addition to construct 3D maps and perceive human driving patterns.

The Level 5 program is taking information from choose autos in Lyft’s Express Drive program, which gives rental automobiles and SUVs to drivers on its platform as an alternative choice to choices like long-term leasing.


What do you think?