Lyft’s self-driving test vehicles are back on public roads in California – ProWellTech
Lyft of The self-driving vehicle division has restarted testing on California’s public roads several months after it halted operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Lyft’s level 5 program, some of its autonomous vehicles returned on the road to Palo Alto and its closed test track on Tuesday. The company did not resume a pilot program that provided rides to Lyft employees in Palo Alto.
The company said it followed the CDC guidelines for personal protective equipment and surface cleaning. It has also taken several additional security measures to prevent the spread of COVID. Each self-contained test vehicle is equipped with dividers to separate the two safety operators inside, the company said. Operators must wear face shields and undergo temperature checks. They are also paired together for two weeks at a time.
Lyft’s level 5 program – a nod to the SAE automated driving level which means that the vehicle handles all driving in all conditions – launched in July 2017 but did not begin testing on California public roads until November 2018. Lyft has accelerated the test program and its fleet. By the end of 2019, Lyft was driving four times as many autonomous miles per quarter compared to six months earlier.
Lyft performed 19 autonomous vehicle tests on public roads in California in 2019, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles of California, the main agency that regulates AV in the United States. Those 19 vehicles, which ran during the reporting period from December 2018 to November 2019, drove nearly 43,000 miles in autonomous mode, according to Lyft’s annual report released in February. Although it is a tiny figure compared to other companies like Argo AI, Cruise and Waymo, it represents progress within the program.
Lyft integrated its road tests with simulation, a strategy he relied more on during COVID-related arrests. And it will likely continue to lean on simulation even when local governments lift restrictions and the economy reopens.
Simulation is an inexpensive way to create additional control, repeatability and security, according to a blog post published Tuesday by Robert Morgan, director of engineering and Sameer Qureshi, director of product management at level 5. The couple said the simulation he also allowed level 5 units to test his job without vehicles, without employees leaving their desks and in recent months, without leaving the house. Level 5 employs over 400 people in London, Munich and the United States.
The use of simulation in the development of autonomous vehicle technology is a consolidated tool in the sector. Lyft’s approach to data – which he uses to improve his simulations – is what differentiates the company from its competitors. Lyft is using data collected by drivers on its driving app to improve simulation tests, as well as building 3D maps and understanding human driving models.
The level 5 program is taking data from vehicles selected in Lyft’s Express Drive program, which provides rental cars and SUVs to drivers on its platform as an alternative to options such as long-term leasing.