This week, ridesharing company Lyft began rolling out self-driving cars with users of the rideshare service in Boston. According to a report on Phys.org, autonomous vehicles developed by the tech firm nuTonomy are on the streets of Boston as part of a collaboration between Lyft and nuTonomy. The pilot program will select Boston passengers in the Seaport area with these driverless cars when they request rides through the Lyft app.
Testing Driverless Cars
During this test phase, the companies will also get feedback from passengers to improve the system. Alphabet’s Waymo said last month that its driverless cars will hit the road without anyone behind the wheel in a test in Arizona. Waymo has previously tested driverless cars, but this is the first time they are planning on doing it without a driver behind the wheel to take over if necessary. Waymo also said it testing will initially be limited to part of Phoenix, Arizona.
These launches of driverless cars are apparently part of a competitive race to a ride-sharing future with established automakers such as Ford and BMW and ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, all thrown in the mix. nuTonomy, which has partnered with Lyft, is a startup created by former engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The company deployed a small number of vehicles for the world’s first driverless taxis last year in Singapore.
The Issue of Safety
We understand that driverless cars are the way of the future. However, before putting these vehicles on our roadways, it is important to vet them and ensure that they are not putting our traveling public in harm’s way. This is especially true when Lyft is going to put driverless vehicles out there with absolutely no backup. These are vehicles that can cause significant injuries and damages. In other cities, driverless cars have had near misses particularly with pedestrians and bicyclists at street intersections and crosswalks.
We believe that this groundbreaking technology should not come at the cost of public safety. People should not have to suffer life-changing injuries or lose loved ones so these tech companies, ridesharing firms and automakers can make billions of dollars in profits. It’s time for these companies and our lawmakers to put people before profits when it comes to driverless cars.