Cars

Boston said to be in line for robot cars

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Silicon Valley’s steady march toward self-driving cars took another step forward Friday as the ride-hailing company Lyft said its customers will be able to summon a driverless vehicle on some roads by the end of the year.

The autonomy program, which is expected to launch in Boston before eventually spreading to other cities, could ultimately involve hundreds of thousands of vehicles, said company officials. Depending on the precise conditions of a trip — including the route, traffic, weather and time of day — riders who opt into the trial may be automatically picked up in a self-driving car built by one of a number of manufacturers working with Lyft, rather than a human driver.

“You’re going to see it. You’re going to see these vehicles on the street,” said Taggart Matthiesen, Lyft’s senior director of product.

As with other companies that have been publicly testing self-driving cars, Lyft riders who participate in the program will be accompanied by test drivers sitting in the front seats of the vehicles.

The moves reflect Lyft’s most visible push yet into the world of autonomy, which has so far been dominated by traditional automakers, such as Ford and General Motors, as well as tech giants such as Waymo and Uber, Lyft’s biggest rival in the ride-hailing space.

Print Headline: Boston said to be in line for robot cars

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