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Lyft buys an AR company to bolster its self-driving car efforts

It's also revealing an autonomous Ford test car.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 23, 2018
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Lyft is ramping up it self-driving car strategy on two fronts. To start, the ridesharing mainstay has acquired Blue Vision Labs, a UK-based augmented reality firm whose underlying technology helps cars both know their location and understand their surroundings. The startup will join Lyft's Level 5 team (that is, working on complete autonomy) to contribute its knowledge. TechCrunch has also learned that Blue Vision will serve as the "anchor" for a London research and development wing.

This is Lyft's first buyout in the self-driving world, although it's not clear if this will be the last. "We are always evaluating build versus buy," the company's autonomous driving lead Luc Vincent told TechCrunch. However, this and an earlier team-up with Magna show that Lyft is willing to seek outside help to get the ball rolling.

That includes the choice of cars. As part of its partnership with Ford, Lyft is introducing a Fusion Hybrid test car (above) that incorporates driverless technology. It's not certain where the machine will hit the road, but it will deploy "soon," according to Lyft. While this won't be the company's first test mule by any stretch, it should both expand Lyft's small autonomous fleet and add some variety to the testing process.

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