Lyft, Magna partner on self-driving system

Nora Naughton
The Detroit News

Lyft and automotive supplier Magna International Inc. forged a multi-year partnership Wednesday to develop a self-driving system that can be manufactured for the industry.

Magna, a Canadian global automotive supplier with operations in Troy, is investing $200 million in the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company in addition to the companies’ agreement to jointly fund, develop and manufacture self-driving systems, the companies said in a statement. The partnership is still subject to regulatory approval.

Vehicles equipped with the self-driving system Magna and Lyft develop will be deployed in Lyft’s network in the coming years, but Magna can also deploy the technologies elsewhere in the automotive industry.

“There is a new mobility landscape emerging and partnerships like this put us at the forefront of this change,” Swamy Kotagiri, Magna Chief Technology Officer, said in the statement. “Lyft’s leadership in ride-sharing and Magna’s automotive expertise makes this strategic partnership ideal to effect a positive change as a new transportation ecosystem unfolds.”

Details about the length of the partnership or when the systems will be ready are not clear. The systems for mass-production are expected to be market ready “over the next few years,” the companies said.

Lyft will take the lead on co-development of the self-driving system at its Silicon Valley engineering center, while Magna will draw on its expertise as an automotive supplier to lead the manufacturing of the system and deploy it across the industry.

Lyft has been making strategic partnerships to speed up the development of self-driving technology over the last few years, forging alliances with Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, Jaguar Land Rover, and Aptiv PLC, which partnered with Lyft at the CES technology show in Las Vegas to offer self-driving rides in BMW 5-Series sedans equipped with Aptiv’s self-driving system.

But the partnership with Magna sets itself apart as the ride-hailing company’s first involving a plan for large-scale manufacturing of a self-driving system.

“Together with Magna, we will accelerate the introduction of self-driving vehicles by sharing our technology with automotive OEMs worldwide,” Lyft CEO Logan Green said in the statement. “This is an entirely new approach that will democratize access to this transformative technology.”