Ride-sharing service Lyft says its cars will soon be able to pick up riders using self-driving technology, thanks to a $500 million dollar investment from General Motors. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company aims to lead the charge in self-driving taxi service in the United States. Lyft will reportedly use Chevy Bolt EVs to offer self-driving pickup service within the next 12 months.
So far, Lyft is being hush-hush regarding the specific location for the new service. That may be in part due to the pending legal questions about driverless automobiles. Although the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a statement earlier this year that the computer controlling self-driving systems could be legally considered the “driver,” many other legal obstacles remain since autonomous cars lack other components required by state and federal vehicle regulations.
Those requirements are, in part, why the Lyft self-driving taxis will still arrive with a human sitting in the driver’s seat. WSJ reports that is to comply with legal regulations as well as to ensure safety. The human driver can take over if the self-driving technology goes awry. Lyft says, though, that “the driver is expected to eventually be obsolete.”
The Chevy Bolt, expected on the market later this year, has been primed to revolutionize the electric car industry from the start. With a $30,000 price tag (after tax incentives), the 200-mile range electric car is one of the most affordable and sought-after green cars in production. With its release, GM will have more than a yearlong lead over Tesla, as it gears up for the launch of the similarly priced Model 3 in late 2017.