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Better late than never: Lyft becomes finally serious about self-driving ambition

It is little late, but never mind. Ride-hailing major Lyft has made a first major stride towards self-driving cars by acquiring U.K based technology startup Blue Vision Labs. This marks the first major acquisition by Lyft’s autonomous car division, which was launched only last year.

Lyft has said in a statement that it will seek to leverage Blue Vision Labs’ deep knowledge about computer vision to create precise maps of the environment surrounding a car.

The Silicon Valley-based cab hailing company, as already mentioned earlier, has joined the self-driving industry a tad late. However, it is important to note that despite all the overwhelming hype surrounding the self-driving car industry, the industry is still in a very nascent stage.

That said, this hype is not without any substance. It is the substance that indicates towards foreseeably huge market opportunity that has propelled big auto companies like Honda, GM, Ford & Toyota to jump into self-driving bandwagon. Not to mention Lyft’s main rival Uber is also spending fortunes on its self-driving project. And, of course, Google is doing every bit to prompt its own Waymo.

But how does Lyft really plans to compete with these companies? I will certainly struggle to give a convincing answer to this one, especially since Lyft doesn’t have deep pockets even to compete with Uber, let alone big auto companies.

And then there is a bigger question as to when will self-driving industry achieve the commercial viability. Well, only time can answer these intriguing questions. Until then Lyft will have to keep raising funds to afford big investments in a capital intensive project like self-driving. For this, it will have to ensure that its core business of on-demand transportation continues to stay in a good shape.

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