To say that Uber is having a rough year is an understatement—in the last several months, the ride-share company has lost senior personnel, one of its biggest fans, and any appearance of having a decent work environment, to say nothing of the whole spying-on-celebrities thing. Oh, Uber has tried to shore things up by putting the reviewing shoe on the other foot, but it could be too little, too late. According to The New York Times, Lyft is in the process of teaming up with Waymo, Google’s autonomous car division, to offer driver-free rides (possibly) sometime in the next five years.
While both parties confirmed that a deal’s been struck, there are few specifics about what it actually entails. But their intention is clear: To “work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts.” The two companies are fans of each other, with a Lyft spokesperson effusing that “Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” while Waymo touted “Lyft’s vision and commitment to improving the way cities move will help Waymo’s self-driving technology reach more people, in more places.”
As for how this new arrangement could sink Uber, the Times notes that the embattled company is vying with Waymo to roll out autonomous cars, so a joint effort between its two competitors could knock Uber off the top of the ride-share market. But just how imminent that threat is remains to be seen, as both Lyft and Waymo have deals in place with other collaborators in this self-driving car business, so this could be more of a three-way race.
[via Jalopnik, which, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]