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Lyft and nuTonomy form strategic R&D partnership to optimize passenger experience in self-driving cars

Autonomous vehicle software developer nuTonomy and Lyft have formed a strategic R&D partnership focused on understanding and optimizing the end-to-end experience of autonomous vehicle (AV) passengers.

Under the partnership, nuTonomy and Lyft will align their respective technology platforms to gather valuable research and insights into all aspects of ensuring a passenger’s comfort and safety during an AV ride—from routing and booking to the performance of the driving system and how it interacts and communicates with the rider.

By combining forces with Lyft in the US, we’ll be positioned to build the best passenger experience for self-driving cars. Both companies care immensely about solving urban transportation issues and the future of our cities, and we look forward to working with Lyft as we continue to improve our autonomous vehicle software system.

—Karl Iagnemma, CEO and Co-founder of nuTonomy

The collaborative R&D effort will take place in Boston, MA, where nuTonomy has been testing its self-driving electric cars since the beginning of the year. (Earlier post.) The tests are being conducted in Boston’s Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park and the adjacent Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods. An engineer from nuTonomy rides in each of its vehicles during testing to observe system performance and assume control if needed.

Through its testing program in Boston, nuTonomy is building on the knowledge it has gained from the road tests and public trials it has been conducting in Singapore’s one-north business district since last August. nuTonomy plans to launch its self-driving mobility-on- demand service in Singapore in 2018. (Earlier post.)

Following the initial phase of this partnership, Lyft and nuTonomy will consider expanding it in ways that will yield additional learning and data about the ideal function, performance and features of an autonomous mobility on demand service that could be deployed in cities to tackle the difficult challenge of urban driving.

Founded by Drs. Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli of MIT, nuTonomy has developed the first-of-its-kind complete solution for providing point-to-point mobility via large fleets of self-driving cars; this includes software for autonomous vehicle navigation in urban environments, smartphone-based ride hailing, fleet routing and management, and controlling a vehicle remotely through teleoperation.


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