If Lyft is going to translate self-driving car experiments into production vehicles offering rides, it's going to need some help -- and it's on the way. The company has formed a partnership with Magna that will see the two jointly fund and develop autonomous car systems both for Lyft and the broader automotive industry. Lyft will lead the development, while Magna will take charge of manufacturing as well as contribute its know-how in vehicle systems, driver assistance and safety. The two hope to make the technology available to the industry on a large scale in the "next few years."
Magna is also pouring $200 million into Lyft on top of the money needed for the project.
Both sides have strong incentives to team up. If Lyft is going to counter Uber and make driverless ridesharing a staple of its fleet, it needs self-driving systems that are refined and economical at the kind of volumes it needs. Magna, meanwhile, is one of the most influential automotive suppliers in the business -- this fast tracks the development of self-driving platforms it can sell to car makers. Whatever money the two invest right now could reap many rewards down the line.