Lyft Strikes Self-Driving Deal With North America’s Top Supplier

Lyft Inc. has struck a multimillion-dollar partnership with North America’s biggest automotive supplier to together fund and develop the systems needed to make self-driving vehicles a reality.

Magna International Inc. and Lyft will share the intellectual property from co-developing autonomous vehicles, and Magna will be free to sell the technology to car companies. In addition to helping fund the partnership, Magna has made a $200 million equity investment in Lyft, extending the ride-hailing company’s most recent financing round to $1.7 billion.

“This industry is at an early stage; it’s like when the first smartphone appeared on the market,” said Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s chief strategy officer. “Autonomous software and hardware is important, but it should be in everybody’s hands, and what we have to be great at is being a great network.”

Existing Partners

Lyft has already struck a number of tie-ups aimed at someday bringing self-driving cars to its platform. It has agreements with Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car unit Waymo and with Ford Motor Co. General Motors Co. is a major investor in the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company.

Lyft’s deal with Magna isn’t expected to scuttle those partnerships. While Magna will have an exclusive agreement to outfit Lyft’s fleet with autonomous driving equipment, Lyft still plans to grant other autonomous vehicle companies access to its ride-sharing platform.

“The idea here is definitely outfitting a current production vehicle,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna’s chief technology officer. “The big differentiator here is the co-development of the software, joint ownership of the IP, but Magna is the exclusive partner to outfit the Lyft fleet with the autonomous kits.”

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Driverless Timeline


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