Lyft has announced this week to open a second test site for road vehicles. The center is located in Palo Alto, California, near its self-driving headquarters – the Level 5 Engineering Center. Lyft also removed the packaging of a new car that will join its autonomous fleet: a modified Chrysler Pacifica minivan equipped with cameras, radar, and lidar sensors similar to those of Alphabet's Waymo.
will complement the test center at GoMentum Station in Concord, California, and will allow a larger number of test runs. In the new center, engineers mimic real driving scenarios involving intersections, traffic lights, road junctions, pedestrian walkways and other public roads whose components can be reconfigured.
According to Lyft, the upcoming hybrid minivan was selected for its "size and functionality" and the flexibility it offers the company's autonomous vehicle team. The cars are currently in production and will soon be deployed on public roads along with Lyft's driverless Ford Fusion fleet.
The developments follow a year when Lyft expanded access to its self-drive service for employees recently introduced in Palo Alto (where it received permission from city officials) with human safety drivers on board in a limited area. The company announced in 201
Lyft also announced this week that it now drives four times more kilometers quarterly than it does. Half a year ago, the company employed around 400 people working on the development of autonomous vehicle technologies worldwide (up from 300 this year before). According to the company, 96% of people trying to praise a driverless vehicle in the Lyft app say they do so again.
Lyft's Level 5 team consists of a group of data scientists, applied researchers and product managers, plant managers and others working to build a self-driving sharing system. Since the division's inception in July 2017, the group has developed novel 3D segmentation frameworks, new vehicle efficiency assessment methods, and vehicle movement tracking techniques using crowdsourced maps.
In March 2018, Lyft began testing autonomous cars public roads, a year after it completed tests on private roads and started employee pilots. In addition, in May, Lyft partnered with Google's parent company, Alphabet's Waymo, to enable customers to hail Waymo's driverless cars via the Lyft app in Phoenix, Arizona. And Lyft continues to work with Aptiv, a self-driving autostart, to provide Lyft customers in Las Vegas with a small fleet of autonomous vehicles.
In July, Lyft released an open-source dataset for the development of autonomous vehicles, one of the largest of its kind, with over 55,000 human-labeled 3D images of transportation agents. Concurrently with the release of the dataset, the company announced a technical challenge for developers who are interested in creating machine learning models using the examples in it.