Inside Lyft’s Self-Driving Car Lab for Automated Vehicles

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CNBC got a first look inside Lyft’s level 5 lab, where it builds self-driving cars that are being tested on roads now.

Self-driving rides are also available to select Lyft passengers in Arizona and Las Vegas, where Lyft opened its app to autonomous vehicle companies APTIV and Waymo. Lyft says it’s completed more than 75,000 self-driving rides.

Waymo LLC is a self-driving technology development company — subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. Waymo originated as a project of Google before it became a stand-alone subsidiary in December 2016. In April 2017, Waymo started a limited trial of a self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. On December 5, 2018, the service launched a commercial self-driving car service called “Waymo One” in the Phoenix metropolitan area where customers can use an app to request a pick-up.

APTIV is a global parts manufacturing company formerly known as Delphi Automotive PLCAPTIV and Hyundai Motor Group announced in September 2019 that the two companies will be forming an autonomous driving joint venture, claiming the partnership brings together one of the industry’s most innovative vehicle technology providers and one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers.

Taggart Matthiesen, VP of Product of Lyft Autonomous Group, describes two autonomous initiatives: (1) an open platform with partners such as Apativ and Waymo; and Lyft’s own internal Level 5 initiative for it’s own Lyft ride-sharing program.

Sensor technologies include cameras, radar and Lidar. Lidar (light imaging detection and ranging) is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflected light with a sensor. Differences in laser return differential durations and wavelengths that can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of the target or environment.

Whiskers are the name for additional Lidar sensors that are located on the front corner of the front fenders of each vehicle.

Self-driving safety is a major part of the development. Lyft is a core company of the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium, which openly publishes safety principles. The consortium’s safety principles fall into three themes: proper systems in place for testing, interaction with people and systems, and the collection, protection, and sharing of data. These technology-neutral principles are key considerations for deploying automated vehicles on public roads.

Levels of Vehicle Autonomy

Level 0: All major vehicle systems are controlled by a human driver

Level 1: Certain systems, such as cruise control or automatic braking, may be controlled by the vehicle, one at a time

Level 2: The vehicle offers at least two simultaneous automated functions, like acceleration and steering, but requires a human driver for safe operation

Level 3: The vehicle can manage all safety-critical functions under certain conditions, but the driver is expected to override automated driving when alerted

Level 4: The vehicle is fully-autonomous in some driving conditions and scenarios, though not all conditions and scenarios

Level 5: The vehicle is completely capable of fully-automated driving in every situation

If a route is complicated, a traditional Lyft ride-share vehicle can be delivered.

Self-driving vehicles are expected to be introduced in isolated areas in the ride-sharing industry.

Communities are beginning to change ordinances to adjust to automated vehicles, and have discovered that some businesses require less parking

See also …
Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium



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