A Lyft-nuTonomy deal has officially been announced today and will focus on rider experience optimization. The idea behind the partnership is to make the experience enjoyable for riders from beginning to finish when they ride in an autonomous vehicle, though it also seeks to learn more from the rider as well so Lyft and nuTonomy's can improve the way self-driving car services operate. A more enjoyable experience for the passenger should mean a better service overall, so the reasoning for this partnership shouldn't be too surprising.
nuTonomy says that it will work with Lyft to gather insight on every element of the ride for the passenger, including gathering information on the performance of the vehicles during the ride, as well as figuring out how the booking process and routing of the vehicle was during the ride. nuTonomy states that it's also interested in knowing how the autonomous vehicle interacts with passengers, and all of this data should help both nuTonomy and Lyft fine-tune vehicles even further and work towards making autonomous vehicle ride sharing services a reality. nuTonomy is already testing self-driving electric cars in Boston which is why it has chosen to use this testing ground for the location of gathering the data and doing the research that it and Lyft are working together to collect.
nuTonomy doesn't mention how long it plans to gather research through this new partnership but it has been conducting self-driving tests in the city since the beginning of 2017, and for an even longer period in Singapore where it's been completing tests and public trials since August of 2016. What's more, is that it plans to launch an on-demand service with self-driving vehicles in Singapore in 2018, and its most recent test was done just recently. The video for that test was published up on nuTonomy's YouTube channel yesterday and can be viewed below. nuTonomy doesn't mention any specifics in regards to the terms of the deal and it doesn't mention what long-term results it's looking for this partnership to deliver. It also doesn't mention if any monetary cost is included in the partnership for either company, or if it plans to work with Lyft on any future projects beyond these initial R&D efforts. This won't be Lyft's first set of business revolving around self-driving cars, as it's also reportedly working with Waymo on self-driving car technology as well.