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Waymo partners with Lyft for self-driving cars

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Google affiliate Waymo and ride sharing service Lyft have confirmed that they are teaming up to work on self-driving cars. The deal was first reported by the New York Times.

Waymo noted Lyft’s commitment to the smart city ideal, and said the partnership will help bring Waymo’s self-driving cars to more potential passengers.

The partnership also gives Waymo a new way to compete against Uber, which is emerging as a major Waymo rival. Waymo has accused Uber of stealing its proprietary information as Uber tries to develop its own fleet of self-driving cars.

As ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles come together, it appears that hired drivers may be at risk of losing their jobs to computers. Many drivers who work for Uber, Lyft or another ride-sharing service are working to supplement income from another job that has more traditional hours.

It’s been almost two years now since a Waymo vehicle completed a historic trip in Austin, Texas, chauffering Steve Mahon, former director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center. Mahon, who is legally blind, said he enjoyed the first trip in a car that did not carry a backup human driver.

The following year, Google parent Alphabet decided to make Waymo its own company. A number of early Waymo employees have reportedly left the company, and some of them have joined competitors or started their own firms.

Of course Waymo also faces competition from the established automakers, most of which are investing in self-driving vehicle technologies. General Motors, which wants to put autonomous Chevrolets on the road, is actually an investor in Lyft.

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