Lyft arranged the sale of its Level 5 autonomous vehicle (AV) unit to auto-maker Toyota Motor for $550 million, accelerating the US taxi company’s path to profitability and freeing it to work with multiple AV partners.
Level 5 will become part of Toyota’s Woven Planet subsidiary, which will gain access to mapping, route and sensor data from Lyft vehicles. The agreement also covers the transfer of 300 staff to the Japanese company’s unit, taking its total headcount to around 1,200.
Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer told Bloomberg TV around 100,000 journeys had already been taken by customers in AVs, albeit with drivers on hand to take over when needed.
Zimmer added Lyft aims to have driverless cars by 2023 and predicted this would be the norm in major US cities within five years, the news outlet reported.
The sale of Level 5 to Toyota frees Lyft to work with multiple AV partners, he added.
In late 2020, Lyft rival Uber sold its Advanced Technologies Group to Aurora Innovation.
US regulator the Federal Communications Commission allocated part of the 5.9GHz band for AVs, but there is ongoing debate over the best way for cars to use the spectrum.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back