Lyft has begun testing its autonomous vehicles on California roads again.
When the pandemic caused people to stay at home, Lyft’s public testing program was suspended. As California has eased restrictions, however, the company has resumed its testing program.
“We’re excited to announce that our autonomous vehicles (AVs) are back on the road — and that during the shelter in place we continued to make progress by doubling down on simulation,” reads the company’s blog post. “Simulation is an important part of our testing program, enabling us to test beyond road miles.”
At the same time, the company downplayed any impact the temporary hiatus had.
“While road testing remains a critical aspect of our program, simulation allows us to leverage existing on-road data in many more ways, and multiple times over, to help improve and validate our software,” continues the blog. “With Lyft’s unique data and Level 5’s advancements in simulation, we believe we’re reducing the road miles needed by several orders of magnitude. Our focus on simulation over the last few months allowed us to maintain Level 5’s momentum toward our goal to improve access to safe and reliable transportation for millions of Lyft riders everywhere.”
This is good news for Lyft and the autonomous vehicle industry in general. Especially in view of the pandemic and social distancing, the demand for autonomous, driverless vehicles may see an increase for reasons few would ever have expected.