Lyft To Start Self-Driving Car Program In Boston

Image courtesy of Tony Webster

Ride-hailing service Uber may be the one that got to splashy headlines about self-driving cars first, but Lyft hasn’t exactly been sitting around, either. The company has finally announced where it will first take autonomous vehicles to the street: the notoriously tricky roads of Boston.

It’s all part of a partnership with an autonomous vehicle startup called nuTonomy, Mashable reports.

The program will start in the Boston area, since nuTonomy is based out of MIT. When eventually the public-facing part of the program starts, it will be the first time Lyft has used self-driving cars to carry paying passengers.

It’s not the first city nuTonomy’s put self-driving cars on the streets of; the company launched a partnership with a different ride-hailing app in Singapore last year.

You can’t stick your virtual thumb out for a self-driving Lyft quite yet, though. CEO Logan Green said that research and development to “fine-tune” the experience is the “first step.”

“We’re focused on creating a great end-to-end experience,” Green said, declining to provide details on what that means. But a spokesperson for the company did confirm that self-driving cars for public rides are still at least a few months away, “pending explicit regulatory approval.”

That means Lyft in Massachusetts, unlike Uber in California, is going to get permission first, instead of facing an awkward situation where they have to stop tests after getting called out by authorities.

Lyft also recently announced a partnership with Waymo, Google’s self-driving car business. The details of that deal, however, remain tightly under wraps.