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Tech & Science Lyft partners with Waymo to launch self-driving car pilots

14:12  15 may  2017
14:12  15 may  2017 Source:   reuters.com

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Maya Jackson a Lyft driver navigates a Lyft app on a smartphone during a photo opportunity in San Francisco © REUTERS/Stephen Lam Maya Jackson a Lyft driver navigates a Lyft app on a smartphone during a photo opportunity in San Francisco U.S. ride services company Lyft Inc and Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) self-driving car unit Waymo have launched a self-driving vehicle partnership, bringing together two rivals to dominant ride-sharing service Uber Technologies Inc.[UBER.UL]

Lyft, the No. 2 U.S. ride service by ride volume, in a statement said a deal to launch self-driving pilots would accelerate its vision for transportation and Waymo, which is beginning tests of a self-driving car service in Phoenix, said the partnership would let its technology reach "more people, in more places".

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Neither offered many details of the agreement, which was reported earlier by the New York Times.

The auto industry and technology companies are racing to develop self-driving technology, which they expect in a number of years will transform transportation, cutting costs of ride services and changing the way people buy and use cars.

The Waymo logo is displayed during the company's unveil of a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit © REUTERS/Brendan McDermid The Waymo logo is displayed during the company's unveil of a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Uber is the biggest U.S. ride service by volume and has been developing self-driving technology, which it sees as a key to its future, as it expands its ride service with human drivers.

Waymo has some of the most advanced self-driving vehicle technology and has been looking for partners, while Lyft offers ride services in about 300 U.S. cities.

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  Uber self-driving car case headed to court Uber suffered a setback in a court case that could affect the development of self-driving cars when the judge referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for an investigation into the possible theft of trade secrets by an Uber executive. In the ruling, Judge William Alsup said the case must stay in court and not go to a private arbitrator as Uber had wanted."The court takes no position on whether a prosecution is or is not warranted, a decision entirely up to the United States Attorney," Alsup wrote in his order.

Still, Lyft said the deal is non-exclusive and will allow it to continue a self-driving partnership with U.S. automaker General Motors Co (GM.N), which is a Lyft investor.

GM plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in test fleets partnering with Lyft beginning 2018, sources told Reuters in February.

Lyft is extremely early in its autonomous efforts. It has relied heavily on General Motors for any testing and doesn't have a program that rivals Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, a department in Uber dedicated to building self-driving technology.

Waymo and Uber are fighting in court over self-driving technology that Waymo says was stolen by a former employee who founded another company that Uber later acquired. Uber says it did not steal or use Waymo secrets.

Talks on the Waymo and Lyft collaboration between began last summer, a person familiar with the situation said.

Lyft raised $600 million at a $7.5 billion valuation last month.

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S, Heather Somerville and Jessica DiNapoli; Editing by Peter Henderson and Sandra Maler) 

North Korea says ready to deploy, mass-produce new missile .
TOKYO — North Korea says it's ready to deploy and start mass-producing a new medium-range missile capable of reaching Japan and major U.S. military bases there following a test launch it claims confirmed the missile's combat readiness and is an "answer" to U.S. President Donald Trump's policies.The solid-fuel Pukguksong-2 missile flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) and reached a height of 560 kilometers (350 miles) Sunday before plunging into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea's media said more missiles will be launched in the future.Trump, traveling in Saudi Arabia, had no immediate public comment.

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